John 12:20-36 (Click Link to Read)
Passover was just right around the corner for this group of ragtag followers of Jesus. No doubt the thoughts and images of years gone by are fresh in their minds. Given the age of the disciples was likely very young, the memories locked in their minds about the stories of Moses, the Israelites, and God’s deliverance of them out of bondage and into a world of new hope were like rays of sunshine on a dark day. With its many symbols, Passover would be a steady calling to Israel to consider God’s promises as true and the hope of restoration at some point in the future. They were to be looking for God to show up!
As they awaited the full feast of Passover, Jesus’ disciples were approached by some people not from their group - outsiders if you will. Their desire: “to see Jesus.” Isn’t that the question most of us face daily? In everything we do, people want to see Jesus. In our conversations, business dealings, relationships, and other interactions. People want to see Jesus in the way we handle stress and peace, anxiety and assurance, anger and joy. People still ask to see Jesus. These people, really wanted to see Jesus.
Jesus’ response to the disciples is that the time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. What does he mean? He explains it in different ways throughout this section: A grain of wheat falling to the ground and dying, those who love their lives needing to lose them, being lifted up for all of the world to see, etc. Each of these phrases point to the death of Jesus as the means by which he will be glorified. The way that people must accept Him. The only way that people will ever truly be able to “see him.”
It’s still true today. It is only when we are willing to die to ourselves, that Jesus will be visible to others. It’s only when we have chosen to take second, third or last place, that Christ can take first and shine in a world desperate to truly see him. It’s only when we do this that we can see Jesus shining out in the world in which we live. It is shocking to so many to consider that Jesus not only planned to die on the Cross, but that he wanted to do so. Why? Because truly it was the only way that people would ever be able to truly see Jesus. It isn’t until we can accept that Jesus’ death was the way He chose to show us His glory, that we can truly begin to see Him for who He is!
Sunday is Coming!