- Why do you think Jesus gave the disciples power to heal the sick?
- Why does Jesus often link the coming of the Kingdom of God with healing the physical body? (See also: Matthew 11:1-6)
- What do you think this means for Christians today?
- How is our ministry contributing, and what else could we do?
Tag Archives: sickness
As a group, read the following Scriptures and answer the questions below.
o John 11:1-44 (entire chapter)
1. Why do you think Jesus waited before going to Mary and Martha?
2. Have you ever had a time in your life when you desperately prayed for God’s help but God chose not to give you what you asked for?
3. What do you think God’s purposes are in these situations?
Now, think back through the story, and put yourself in the role of Lazarus. Instead of focusing on Lazarus’ physical sickness and death, though, now focus on your spiritual sickness and death before you became a Christian.
4. How is the story about Lazarus’ resurrection like your own story of spiritual rebirth?
5. What insights does this give you about the story?
Facilitator Notes for Large Group Debrief
o Like Lazarus, we were dead, but our sickness which led to death was spiritual rather than physical.
o Jesus waited until we were aware of our deadness before He brought us into life everlasting.
o Releasing Lazarus from the grave was a visual representation of what Jesus was about to do for all of us.
o When Jesus rolled away the stone from His own grave in the garden, He rolled away the stone for all of humanity. Death could no longer hold us!
o The stone that blocked our way to new life has been rolled away.
o Jesus calls our name and invites us to come out to enjoy new life with Him.
o Unfortunately, many of us chose to stay in our tombs rather than respond to Jesus’ call for us to come out.
o As long as we stayed in our graves, we were still dead in our sin.
o But for those of us who responded when Jesus called our names, we have new life!
o But that’s not the entire story of how we got free, because even though we had been freed from the power of death, we, like Lazarus, were still bound in our grave clothes.
o Satan had wrapped us up pretty tightly.
o Many of us emerged from the grave, but we weren’t truly free yet. The sins and scars of our past still held us. We wanted to be free to enjoy the life that Jesus promised, but we didn’t know how to separate ourselves from those grave clothes.
o Some of us are still bound today. We still don’t know how to get free of our past. What we did or what was done to us prevents us from experiencing the full joy of our new freedom.
o Like the burial custom practiced in Lazarus’ time, Satan tied our hands and our feet, wrapped us in grave clothes and veiled our faces.
o He tied our hands, because it’s with our hands that we do God’s WORK.
o He tied our feet, because it’s with our feet that we WALK with the Lord.
o He veiled our faces, because it’s with our faces that we bear WITNESS to God’s glory.*
o Many of us are alive in Christ but still tied up in sin, guilt, shame, pain, or ignorance that keeps us from our WORK, our WALK and our WITNESS with and for God.
o It sometimes takes a long time to recognize our freedom, and we need the help of the Church to get free. We need our brothers and sisters in Christ to do for us what those who witnessed Lazarus raised from the dead did for Lazarus. We need our brothers and sisters to “Take off (our) grave clothes and let (us) go!”
o We can’t get free ourselves. This is part of the role of the Church.
o So, as we see other brothers and sisters emerge from the grave, we need to step forward and help them in whatever way God gives us. We need to get them free from their grave clothes.
o And if you are still bound and don’t know how to get free, don’t try to do it alone. Turn to your brothers and sisters in Christ and to Christian professionals who can help you to cut those bounds and walk free in Christ.
* There are at least three important veils in Scripture. Moses wore his veil to hide God’s glory when he came down from the mountain, because the sinful people couldn’t stand the bright holiness of God. But when Jesus died, the veil in the temple was ripped from top to bottom because all could now have access to a holy God through Christ. Satan wants to keep us veiled like Lazarus, but it’s no longer necessary to hide God’s glory.
This object lesson teaches about how God uses everything for His purposes – even the things we don’t like about ourselves. If you act out the story, it can get a little messy (just with water), so you should consider that when selecting your teaching space.
These materials are optional. They are props for you to use when you tell the story.
- Broomstick or 3” dowel rod – approximately five feet long
- Twine or rope
- Drill and ¾” (or larger) drillbit
- Water for your two flower pots
- Two plastic flower pots
- Several potted plants or flowers
· Drill a hole in both ends of the broomstick or dowel rod
· Drill three holes (equally spaced) around the top rim of each flower pot
· Use the hammer to put a crack in the side of one of the flower pots about halfway up. It’s important that the crack leaks steadily, but you don’t want it so big that all your water will pour out at once.
· Cut the twine or rope into six, three foot pieces.
· Thread each piece of twine or rope through a different hole in the two buckets, and tie it off on the outside of the buckets.
· Thread the three lengths of twine or rope from each bucket into one end of the broomstick or dowel rod.
· Make sure that the three lengths are identical, then tie the three lengths or twine or rope together on the opposite side of the broomstick or dowel rod from where you threaded them in. (Do this to both buckets.)
· You should now have two water buckets on either end of the pole. During the storytelling, you will carry the pole on your shoulders.
· Set out your potted plants or flowers on one side of the room, where you will be able to walk by and spill water on them. Leave the other side of this “path” empty of flowers or plants.
· Practice the script with your props.
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
· “Today, we are going to look at a story from the Bible about a Pharisee and a Tax Collector.”
· “During the first century when Jesus walked the earth, everyone thought Pharisee’s were ‘the best people.’ They were leaders in the church, who seemed to be very spiritual, and people thought that God must love them because they were rich.”
· “Tax collectors were considered to be ‘the worst people,’ because they were Jews who collected taxes for Rome and often stole money from the Jewish people.”
· “In this story, Jesus challenged peoples’ ideas about who were the most godly people.” (Get a volunteer to read Luke 18:9-14.)
· “So what do you think Jesus was trying to tell the people about being godly?” (Look for responses that involve the concepts of humility, pride, doing things just for show, authenticity, integrity, reprentance…)
· “You know, that story reminds me of another one…”
· “It is a story about a farmer who had to make a long walk for water each day down to the stream, where the clear water flowed.”
· “To carry the water back, he used two, large, pots that he had fashioned with his own hands. These he hung on either end of a long pole that he carried across his neck and shoulders.” (Show the pole with the two empty flower pots.)
· “Though both pots had seen some years, one was still in perfect condition.” (Show perfect pot.)
· “The other, however, had a large crack in it.” (Show cracked pot.)
· “Each day, the farmer went down the stream.” (Place the pole over your shoulders, and act out the story. Head to the place where you have your water waiting, and fill both pots full.)
· “And each day, he filled both his pots full of water. Then he headed back home.”
· “As he walked, the perfect pot kept all its water, but the cracked pot lost half its water on the path.”
· “The perfect pot was proud of its daily accomplishment, a full pot of water delivered to the farmer’s hut, and it had no respect for the cracked pot because of its inefficiency.”
· “The perfect pot thought to itself, ‘I am glad that I am not like this worthless pot beside me. I faithfully bring all that I’m given back to the hut of my master.’”
· “And to be sure, the cracked pot was ashamed of the way it wasted water on the way back to the hut each day.”
· “If only the crack were not so large or the distance from the stream not so far…”
· “It thought to itself, ‘My master has been so good to me, and I continue to fail him day after day. I’ll speak to my master and ask for his forgiveness.’”
· “So, the next morning, as the farmer was tying each of the pots to the long pole he used to carry them, the cracked pot spoke up.
· “’Master, forgive me; I’m a cracked pot.’”
· “Amused by this sudden revelation, the farmer responded, “’Why yes, you are! I’ve always known that you were cracked. I was there when it happened.’”
· “’Yes, but I’m ashamed that I’m only able to bring half a pot of water back to the hut each day. If I were whole like the other pot, I could bring back all that you trust me with each and every day.’”
· “’Little pot, if I had wanted two full pots of water,’” the farmer replied, “’I would have replaced you a long time ago.’”
· “’Have you not noticed the many, beautiful flowers on your side of the path as we make our way back to the hut each morning?’”
· “’I planted them on your side, because your crack makes it possible for me to water them each day as I walk. The other pot doesn’t share its water with the path, so nothing grows on its side.’”
The Moral of the Story
· “God is the farmer, and we are the pots.”
· “The cracks in the pot represent our sin, our imperfections, and some of our experiences.”
· “God takes our cracks (when we give them to Him) and uses them for His Kingdom and His glory.”
· “Through them, He pours Living Water on a spiritually dry and thirsty world.”
· “His Living Water brings life and beauty into peoples’ lives through us.”
· “No matter what mistakes we have made, no matter what our imperfections… God will use them if we let Him. Romans 8:28 tells us that:
‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’ (emphasis mine)”
· “That’s ALL things!”
· “That includes that part of your body that you don’t like. It includes your scars. It includes your sicknesses. It includes the fact that you are small or big or skinny or fat. It includes the fact that you are not as smart as your brother or sister, that you aren’t good at sports, that you don’t know how to play a musical instrument, that you aren’t pretty or that you can’t read well.”
· “It even includes the bad things you do as long as you let God know you are sorry for them and let Him use them how He wants to.”
· “God uses everything – if we let Him.”
· “So whatever it is that you don’t like about yourself – get over it! God likes it, and He wants to use it to bless those around you. He wants to use your cracks.”
· “And don’t kid yourself. We are all ‘cracked pots.’ (I didn’t say, ‘crackpots,’ but I’m not excluding it, either.)”
· “Not one of us is perfect. The ‘perfect pots’ may look perfect on the outside, but they are cracked on the inside because of their pride or because of something else they are doing their best to hide.”
· “The difference between most of us and the ‘perfect pots’ is that we are giving God opportunities to use our cracks.”
· “He can’t use ‘perfect,’ because ‘perfect’ won’t admit that it needs God.”
· “Remember, God’s power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).”
· “If we pretend that we can do it ourselves, we rob Him of an opportunity to work through us. If we do it in our own power, we get the glory.”
· “The ‘perfect pot’ was proud of what it accomplished in its own power.”
· “But what it missed was the chance to be part of something greater than itself – to share Living Water with the world!”
· “You won’t find anywhere in the Bible where God asked us to store His blessings. He asked us to pour them out as we walk with Him.”
· “So, be a cracked pot, and let God use those cracks for His glory!”