If you’re short on prep time or just looking for some extra guidance, our weekly Leader Training is designed to help you lead your students through the week’s lesson.
This is the Leader Training for Session 13 of our Winter 2023 study of the Gospel of John, chapters 1–11 (suggested use date: February 26, 2023).
You can also download this week’s leader training in PDF format here.
Session 12: The Good Shepherd
Key Text: John 11:1-6,14-17,21-33,39-46
Often, it can be difficult to understand God. Why does He allow terrible things to happen? When we’re going through deep pain, we might think that He doesn’t have power over our horrific circumstances or that He has no compassion for us. However, in John 11, John takes these very normal human concerns and shows us reasons that we can have hope. He tells us about a miracle that shows us Jesus doesn’t just offer life—He is Life.
Read verses 4 and 40. Then read verses 15 and 42. What were God’s two purposes for Lazarus’s death and new life?
Though Jesus’s actions may not have made sense on the surface, the text is clear that He had both God’s glory and humanity’s belief in mind. He allowed His friend to die so that God could be glorified when Lazar us was brought back to life and so that those looking could have all they needed in order to believe that Jesus is the Messiah. The event brought people to worship God and trust Him!
Keep in Mind:
— Grief is a tricky topic. Many students may have been offered spiritual Band-Aids in their moments of grief, or their emotions may have been minimized or even criticized. Do what you can to create a safe place for these stories and to practice honoring students’ experiences in a Christlike way. Jesus’s actions in John 11 offer beautiful news for those who have complicated experiences with grief.
— Jesus’s actions in the beginning of John 11 are a little confusing, but by the end of the chapter, we understand why He did what He did. However, in life we don’t always get answers so quickly. Often, God could have intervened and preserved someone’s life, but didn’t. Students may grapple with this question, and it is okay to do so. They may even blame God for not intervening. Encourage students to meditate on God’s character as they wrestle. We may not always understand His ways, but we can ask Him to help us believe that He truly is life—whether He extends physical life to our loved ones or not.
In what places in your life do you sense Jesus saying to you what He said to Martha in verse 40?
FOR THE STUDENT: Students have the opportunity to consider God’s greatness and power and to apply that to their lives. Where do they believe He is small and unable to work? How can they think differently about this?
FOR THE LEADER: Challenge your students to examine their lives for unbelief, which is at the root of so many of our struggles. How are Jesus’s identity and character good news for them?
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