John 12:20-21, 32 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.”
“But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”
It was extremely significant that Greeks, who would be at the center of the spread of the early Church, came actively looking for Jesus, and He recognized it. What they said to Philip is very appropriately inscribed on many pulpits: “Sirs, we would see Jesus.” Preachers all to often forget that they aren’t supposed to be the center of attention. In too many churches they are, and that leads to many problems. Jesus said that when He is lifted up, He draws everyone to Himself. If the preacher is lifted up, that doesn’t happen. Conversely, if visitors are lifted up, ie. “seeker sensitive” churches, they may be drawn, but not to Christ. There should be no unnecessary barriers in the way of even first time visitors coming to Christ, but if the focus is human- centered, the results will be humanistic wood, hay, and stubble. (1 Corinthians 3:12-15) Everything a church does should be Christ-centered, because only then will He build His Church. (Matthew 16:18)
Since I am a preacher, this is extremely applicable to me. I tend to talk a lot, and that can put me in the spotlight, particularly when I stand out physically from the majority of the people around me. Either in the church or the classroom, I am used to being up front and talking! There is grave danger if I appropriate all that attention to myself, emotionally and spiritually. In school, the focus needs to be the subject matter. In church, the focus must be Jesus; He is the subject matter! To the degree I keep the focus on Jesus, He will draw people to Himself. I keep coming back to the awareness that I can save no one, however much I might like to. Jesus is the Savior, and He can and will save all who come to Him. My job is to make it as easy as possible for them to come.
Father, this is extremely basic, but I need this reminder from time to time. Thank You. Help me indeed lift up Jesus, pointing people to Him, acting as His agent without getting in the way of their seeing Him, so that as many as possible may be drawn to their salvation, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!