Posted by robinpalmer
Readings: Psalm 127:1-2; John 12:20-33
SIR, WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE JESUS
Sir, we would like to see Jesus. It’s a great request. A good place to start if you were there back in the day.
I mean – if you heard stories about him – his miracles – his turning water into wine – his raising the dead. Breaking bread and feeding 5000 at a time. Interesting guy to have at a picnic, this Jesus. Or at a funeral for that matter.
These unnamed and unnumbered Greeks ask Philip. Philip speaks to Andrew. Andrew and Philip speak to Jesus. One wonders if this is broken down telephones – Chinese whispers? Look at what happens next.
You would think that we would read, ‘Jesus said, “Bring them along! I’d love to have a yarn! Let’s hear what the latest is in the Hellenic world! How are the olive trees doing there?”’
The reply is weirdly challenging for us. It’s like a major policy speech. A shift in tone.
Even a policy shift.
There is no healing taking place, or teaching on loving God and our neighbour, prayer or worship, compassion or kindness. He replies:
“The hour has come…”
Joh 12:23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Joh 12:24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Joh 12:25 The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Joh 12:26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. Joh 12:27 “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Joh 12:28 Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”
He talks about
- Dying (v24)
- Sacrifice (v25)
- Serving (v26)
- Following (v26)
- A troubled heart (v27)
- How to pray and how not to pray selfishly (v27)
- Obedience and how to glorify God’s name. (v28)
In fact one of these verses is found on cenotaphs – war memorials to the dead, to fallen soldiers:
It begins with “Truly truly I say to you” (αμην αμην λεγω υμιν – Amen amen lego humin).
Joh 12:24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
It’s appropriate really as tomorrow is Remembrance Day. We should remember the many who gave their lives for our freedom and who still do today.
But also we need to know that we can’t seek Jesus on our terms.
We have people like that all the time. They complain that church ‘doesn’t meet their needs’.
Jesus does actually. But following him is like an inconvenient truth (Al Gore’s title for climate change).
Jesus died a sacrificial death too. He calls us to live a sacrificial life like his. (Romans 12:1).
You won’t get rich or famous. There’s no talk of prosperity here. Or even “my favourite hymns and bible passages.”
But if you really follow Him you will glorify God – like he did. He prays: “Father, glorify your name!”
It happens for Jesus on the cross! But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” (verse 32). He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die. (verse 33).
His way is still best. Totally worthwhile! And wise.
Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labour in vain. (Psalm 127:1)
Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. (Isa 55:6)