The Fruit of the Spirit Study Week 12

Welcome to Week 12 of the “Front Porch” Bible Study Series. In this last post of our study on JOY, we’ll look at one of the most amazing miracles of all: resurrection. When Jesus rose from the grave on the third day, His resurrection sealed our privilege of spending eternity with Him in God’s kingdom. Is there any greater JOY? Today we’ll read about the story of Lazarus’s resurrection.

Click HERE to read today’s Scripture about Jesus’s raising Lazarus from the dead.

Memory Verse: “‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die'” (John 11:25b-26a NKJV).

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

While Jesus ministered in another town, Mary and Martha sent word for the Lord to come to heal their sick brother, Lazarus. Although His disciples discouraged Him from going, Jesus explained, “‘This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.’” (v.4)

Two days later, Jesus and His disciples arrived in Bethany where Lazarus had already been buried for four days. Jesus spoke privately with Martha and then Mary before grieving at Lazarus’s tomb. The sisters and other mourners expressed their disappointment: Lazarus would still be alive if Jesus had come sooner. Jesus declared to Martha, “‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?’” (v.25-26). Martha declared, “‘Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world’” (v.27).

Mary and the crowd of mourners joined together to mourn at the tomb.
Everyone noticed how strongly Jesus wept along with the others. They quietly discussed how much Jesus loved Lazarus, asking “‘Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have kept this man also from dying?’” (v.37).

Jesus told them to remove the stone in front of the cave. He prayed aloud to the Father, asking God to answer His prayer that people would believe in Him. Jesus then cried out with a loud voice, “‘Lazarus, come forth!’” (v.43).

Can you imagine the shock when the dead man appeared alive at the mouth of the cave, still wrapped in his grave clothes? Overjoyed, many people believed in Jesus as the Son of God, but others went to report it to the Pharisees.

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

As you may recall from our earlier study, Lazarus wasn’t the first person Jesus raised the dead. Remember Jairus’s daughter in Mark 5? (You can read about it HERE.)

Why do you think Jesus purposely delayed the call to go to Bethany to heal his dear friend Lazarus? Not because He didn’t care. Although He knew Lazarus would die, He also prophesied to His disciples that this sickness wouldn’t end in death (v.4). “‘And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe'” (v.15).

However, there was one good reason why Jesus planned to raise Lazarus’s body on the fourth day after burial. Since the Jews believed the spirit didn’t depart from the body for the first three days after death, this was a sign and irrefutable proof that glorified both the Father and Jesus, His Son.

What a paradox. He purposely chose his dearest friends, whom He knew He could trust to endure deep yet temporary sorrow, to prove His identity as the Son of God. We know He loved Lazarus very much, as evidenced by His emotional weeping at his tomb. But human reasoning expressed by Martha and Mary came forth loud and clear: “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died” (v.21, v.32). Such a burden of disappointment and sorrow to bear.

But what joy filled their hearts after Lazarus was resurrected! All sorrow and disappointment vanished in that miraculous moment as they received their brother back into their loving arms. As He had said He would, Jesus used this opportunity to bring glory to the Father and prove His identity as God’s Son.

Let’s apply this lesson to our lives.

Don’t we do the same thing as Mary and Martha? When something that we treasure dies, we weep inconsolably at its tomb. We cry out that if Jesus had shown up sooner, it would still be alive.

Perhaps it’s a dream that you believe will never come to pass, and your hope is flickering out. Or maybe it’s a physical illness you’ve prayed about for a long time, but you’re still waiting on healing. Perhaps a relationship appears dead and impossible to bring back to life. Or maybe something to do with money or income has left you mourning and troubled about the future.

Just as Jesus came to Mary and Martha, let’s also take comfort that our Lord will come to minister to each of us. He is a compassionate and understanding Savior who weeps with us in our darkest hour.

Let’s listen as He speaks to our situation and commands whatever is dead to be resurrected back to life. Oh, the JOY that will fill our hearts!

Has the Lord brought you JOY by miraculously resurrecting something dead in your life?

I hope your JOY in the Lord has blossomed and grown this month. When the Holy Spirit lavishes us with the love of Jesus, gardens of JOY grow in our hearts. JOY isn’t conditional on our circumstances, thank goodness, but the Lord gives us JOY in spite of them. When we worship and praise Him through our tears, we are lifted up and out of this world. Isn’t God so good!

For more study on the topic of resurrection, click HERE for a sermon by Charles Spurgeon or HERE for a sermon by Ravi Zacharias.

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for Your compassion and understanding of our human sufferings. We ask You to speak resurrection to our dying circumstances, for You are the Resurrection and the Life. We glorify You and pray these things in Jesus’s Name. Amen.

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much ~ James 5:16.

Front Porch Bible Study Series by Karen Jurgens

12 thoughts on “The Fruit of the Spirit Study Week 12

  1. Thank you so much for these spiritually uplifting posts.
    Joy is what consumes my soul because of my deep relationship with our Father in Heaven.
    I am sitting comfortably on my couch and am transformed by the fruits of the Spirit.
    I pray that I will be a light to others as they see my transformation. Because of the light that shines within, I can now separate my physical problems from the joy that I feel. I am complete.

    • Such a heartwarming testimony to the power of God! Sandra, you have truly embraced the JOY of the Lord, and your light shines brightly. May your testimony draw people to Jesus so they can also know His deep joy within. Blessings, dear friend. ❤️

    • Yes, isn’t His presence glorious! May you be blessed with an abundance of JOY today and always. Blessings and hugs ❤️

  2. Karen, I truly appreciate your wisdom and encouragement in these messages. I love reading your thoughts and I always glean something new in Scripture. We may question “why?” at times but God does have a plan. People wondered why Jesus waited to go to see Lazarus. God knew the reason. We are truly loved and blessed by Him. He cares so much for us and every moment of our lives gives us opportunity to share His love with others. I am filled with joy today. 🙂

    • Thanks for your response, dear Mimi. Yes, I asked “why?” when my dad died of cancer in 1995 during one of the hardest times of my life. Then I recalled that God had given me a prophetic dream the year before, preparing me for that time. God walks with us through our valleys and is our strength, even when our loved one is taken. I love the verse in Habakkuk 3:19: “The Lord God is my strength, and He makes my feet like hind’s feet and makes me walk on my high places.” Blessings and abundant joy, sweet friend. ❤️

  3. Excellent study and reminder that God is in control, and His timing is perfect and in accordance with His perfect plan! Right now I can’t think of something that was dead in my life that God later resurrected. But we can trust that He has a good & perfect plan for each of us, that He is always faithful, and that He loves us with such perfect and unfathomable love.

    • Thanks for commenting, Becky. Yes, God is in control, and we can trust Him to work out all things for our good. I remember when teaching jobs were hard to find, and I seriously considered changing careers. I was deeply saddened to leave all my training behind in exchange for something I wouldn’t have my heart in. Since I never really learned how to type (my school didn’t offer what’s now termed keyboarding), I knew I wasn’t qualified for that kind of job. I laid my vocation on the altar and surrendered to do whatever the Lord chose for me. That was the turning point! God took my obedience and brought a job into my hands soon after. It was truly a miracle that brought such JOY back into my life! I’m very grateful because I love teaching–it’s in my blood. That’s where and when I am totally fulfilled.
      Wishing you a blessed day, dear friend! xoxo

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  6. Karen,
    Thankyou for sharing your joyful message. It is so encouraging to know our God💖 gives us His joy…even as we look on things that are dead to our senses…knowing He can miraculously bring resurrection and life and joy. Blessings, precious sister. 💖

    • Thanks for your kind comment, dear Rena. Yes, the joy of the Lord is our strength! His blessings are never-ending. Love and hugs ❤️xoxo

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