Read John 12:20-26
I have often wondered what it would have been like to see Jesus Christ when he walked on the earth as a man. Would I have recognized him as divine? What did he look like and sound like? I wonder if my doubts would be dissolved if I had actually seen him.
Immediately following Jesus entry into Jerusalem on the day we call Palm Sunday, there is a little story about a group of Greeks who approach Philip, one of the disciples, asking to see Jesus. This short narrative is significant on a number of levels. The fact that they are called Greek is less about their ethnicity than the fact that they were not Jewish. Their request to “see” Jesus is likely more significant than simply wanting to view him or have an audience with him. The phrase “come and see” appears 4 times in the gospel of John and it is always an invitation to experience Christ’s transformative presence and to follow him in discipleship (cf John 1:29, 4:26).
Let’s read Jesus’ response to the Greeks’ request assuming that this interpretation is correct.
And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
What is Jesus saying? Could it be that if they wanted to “see” Jesus in that deeper sense that the only way to do it was to die to their own will and follow him completely? I believe so. In Matt. 25:37-40, Jesus makes the connection between serving the “least of these” and seeing Jesus as the homeless and the prisoner.
The amazing result is that in seeing Jesus when we serve him with our lives means that we are being transformed more into His likeness so that people see Jesus in us (2 Cor 3:18).
- Conjecture what Jesus would have looked and sounded like on earth. How do you think you would have perceived him?
- Are there people you know live their lives in such a way that you have seen Jesus in them?
- What are some ways that you believe we can we have the eyes of our heart opened to see Jesus more clearly? (Eph. 1:8)