Leading Through lent - Holy Week Hope John 11

Holy Week Hope

When all seems lost, what do you do? When darkness surrounds your life, where do you turn? This week, join us and look to Mary, Martha, Lazarus, the disciples, and Jesus to explore Holy Week Hope. Walk away with practical suggestions for leading through darkness and despair. Explore three aspects of cultivating hope, and be reminded that following Jesus is the way to hope.

John 11:1-45: Lazarus is Sick

John 11 is a familiar passage about Lazarus. His sisters send word to Jesus that he’s sick. To the surprise of everyone around Jesus, he doesn’t rush to Lazarus’ side. Instead, it takes the disciples on a journey through a territory where people are looking to find fault with Jesus’ actions. 

When Jesus arrives to Mary and Martha, Lazarus is dead. He’s been placed in a tomb and his body is already starting to decompose. Have you read the King James version of this passage? Specifically John 11:39?

“Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.” John 11:39 (KJV)

No, we’re not having fun at the expense of a man who has died. The language of King James is a reminder of the time that has passed since Lazarus died. Their hope was lost. They were dealing with the death of their brother.

Finding Hope in Jesus

This passage is, of course, about more than Lazarus’ decomposing flesh. It’s about new life and the hope we find in Jesus. 

In a very real way, there are times it is difficult to see and experience hope. Mary and Martha were in this place. The disciples were scratching their heads.

What can we do when we find ourselves in a place of darkness and despair? We offer a few simple suggestions in this episode including:

  • Pay attention to how you share your story. Look for God sightings and include the places God is showing up. The simple act of telling the story with a glimmer of hope can help you experience hope. 
  • While it seems simple, look for reasons to smile. Be intentional in your pursuit of things that bring you joy. If it’s hard today, try again tomorrow.
  • Seek the help you need to care for your mental and emotional well-being. Whether it’s talking to friends, seeking out a counselor, identifying a therapist, or asking for help, care for yourself. 

The Hope Cycle

Finally, remember the Hope Cycle. Hope can be cultivated by tending to three important things: Pathways, Agency, and a Goal. 

Your goal is a reminder of where you are going, what you are trying to achieve, and/or the purpose of what you’re doing. This is where you want to stay focused. 

The pathways are the different ways you can follow to get to your goal. Along the pathways, obstacles will appear. While the pathway can change, be altered, and adapt, the goal should remain in focus. 

Finally, agency is the understanding or perspective that you have what you need to succeed. Said through the lens of faith, you are empowered by God with all the gifts and graces you need to accomplish your goal. Do you believe this? Understand it? Claim it? Ask yourself those questions as you consider how you’re navigating leading others toward hope.

Holy Week Hope

While Lazarus is not a traditional story for Holy Week, it reminds us of the journey we experience this week. As Jesus enters Jerusalem, as you gather at the table, sit at the foot of the cross, remember the crucifixion, wait in the silence of Saturday, may the promise of the resurrection remind you: There is always hope!

Wishing you a faithful journey through Holy Week and a blessed Easter. 

Show note: we’ll be back on April 25, 2023 for the next episode of LeaderCast.

Explore other Episodes in this series

Episode 271 – It’s Getting Real

Episode 272 – What’s Wrong with this Picture?

Episode 273 – The Antidote of Empathy

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Leading through Lent holy week hope