Today is Tuesday, April 23, 2019. Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote in The Brothers Karamazov that “faith does not, in the realist, spring from the miracle but the miracle from faith”, meaning that a person can choose to disbelieve or rationalize away a miraculous event, but only the heart that believes will choose to accept the miraculous. Seeing the miracle is not enough; we must believe that Jesus is who He says He is. John considers similarly how those that Jesus came for still rejected him; even though they saw his miraculous signs, they refused to believe that he was Messiah. Yet God uses the people’s rejection of Jesus to confirm his status as the Messiah through Isaiah’s prophecies. --Monica
The following guide is a resource for you to use in your personal time of solitude with the Lord as well as when you connect with the Community that you facilitate. It can also be used for times with family or friends around the table.
CATCH-UP- What was your high and low from last week/yesterday?
SING + PRAY- Take some time for song (guitar, hymn, acapella or read a Psalm) and extended prayer as an individual/community. A simple path of prayer is to pray through one of the Psalms as a group or use the acronym ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication).
DISCOVER (IN LARGE GROUP)
+ WHAT is this passage saying and what is a key truth or thought that I/we learn? (Use the questions interspersed through the passage to help make additional observations to clarify the main point)
[ John 12.36b-43 ]
When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them.37 Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, 38 so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39 Therefore they could not believe.
_ (v. 37) Jesus had performed many public miracles, like feeding the 5,000 and raising Lazarus from the dead. Why do the people refuse to believe him?
_ (v. 38) In Isaiah 53 Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be a suffering servant who would die “like a lamb to the slaughter” for his people. But the people expected a militaristic Messiah. John quotes here from Is. 53:1 with the opening question. What did Isaiah foretell about the way people would receive the Messiah?
_ (v. 39) Why does John conclude from this that the people could not believe
For again Isaiah said, 40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.” 41 Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him.42 Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.
_ (v. 40) Quoting from Isaiah 6 this time, John refers to the message God tells Isaiah to give to his people, that upon hearing Isaiah’s account of God’s splendor the people will refuse to believe him.
Why would man choose to reject God’s majesty, splendor, and power?
What indicates that God would demonstrate grace to the man who turned?
What does turning have to do with believing?
_ (v. 41) Who does John say the prophet Isaiah was actually talking about? How does this confirm his status as the Messiah all the more? (v 38)
_ (v. 42-3) What motivations are given as a stumbling block to believing and confessing Christ?
_What good-news about Jesus (salvation, forgiveness, help, comfort) do we discover in this passage?
PROCESS (IN BREAKOUTS OF 2-3’S, GUYS/GIRLS)
+ HOW is the Lord calling me to action/obedience? Is there sin to confess, a next step to take, how has it gone since last time
_ What does the “glory that comes from man” look like in my life?
_ Do I value or fear man’s opinion over God’s? Do I need to confess?
_What rhythms can I establish to better value the “glory that comes from God”?
+ WHO am I walking with and praying for to discover Jesus, what is my next step? (e.g., Build trust by spending time with them, set-up an intentional time to share your story, begin a discovery study on the teachings of Jesus with them)