The Study focus: Two Pathyways
Study Passages: Mary of Bethany. Read / Luke 10:38-42 John 11:17-44, 12:1-8; to study about Martha of Bethany: Read Luke 10-38-42; John 11: 17-44.
1. One of the most remarkable things about the Mary and Martha story is the close friendship that Jesus had with both of them, even though they are such different people. Jesus has a gift for friendships not only with a differs group of people - look at the different personalities that his disciples had - but today let us focus specifically with women. Think about some of the other examples of female friendships the Jesus formed in the Gospels. Can you list at least one other?
2. Jesus is unmarried, as are many, if not most, of his close friends, including Mary and Martha. He seems to value the bonds of friendship as much as (or more than) the bonds of marriage. Do we live out that commitment in our own lives, with the time and effort we put into our friendships? Do we number both men and women among our close friends, as Jesus numbered both men and women among his? Why is it that this is a different concept than what we see shown in the body of Christ today? Have you been taught that single women should not be friends with married women and why do believe this is true? Or, not true?
3. To the married sisters you place lots of spiritual effort into your marriage and into making sure it is filled with holiness. What can you do in your life to value and promote your friendships as places of holiness and growth as much as your marriages. To the single ladies what can you do to place efforts in to building those spiritual relationship with your married sisters in Christ?
4. In John, the raising of Lazarus happens right before Jesus enters Jerusalem, and resentment of the religious authorities over the raising of Lazarus is explicit (look at John 12:9-11). Lazarus's resurrection might even have been seen as a trigger event" that leads to Jesus's betrayal and death, and it is the climatic sign that Jesus performs in this Gospel of John.
5. Look at John 2:1-11 for the answer. How is this sign different from the last one He performs? As we look at the word of God women are instrumental in both these signs, encouraging and asking Him to reveal His full power-Mary the mother of Jesus at the miracle at Cana and Mary and Martha of Bethany at the raising of Lazarus. Can you see the importance of women in ministry and in relation to Christ. Can you now see where you fit? What does this presence tell us about the role of women both in Jesus's life and ministry and in the early Church? Can you now see that it is crucial and you are important not only to Jesus but to the body of believers today?
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