John 12:20-21 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.”
From His response, Jesus obviously considered this to be a very significant event in His ministry. His Father may have told Him this would be the indicator that He would be crucified within a couple of days, but we don’t know that for sure. What we do know is that these were Greeks actively seeking Jesus on their own. They weren’t the first Gentiles to come to Jesus. We have the record of the Roman Centurion (Matthew 8) and the Syro-Phoenician woman (Mark 7). However, they both came wanting healing for someone, while these Greeks appear simply to have sought Jesus for who He was. That’s a big deal indeed. It would be some time before even His closest disciples would really grasp that Jesus was the Savior of all mankind, but Jesus knew that His cross wasn’t just for the Jews. That’s why in verse 32 He said that once crucified, He would “draw all men” to Himself. The particular request of the Greeks is worth noting, and has been appropriately inscribed on some pulpits: “Sir, we would see Jesus.” (That’s an older translation, but is slightly more compact than the NIV.) When someone stands in a pulpit to speak, they are not to be presenting themselves, but Jesus, and they must never forget that. Far too many preachers focus more on presenting themselves than on presenting Jesus, and the results aren’t good.
As a preacher myself, this naturally applies to me. In the first place, I need to believe that Jesus can and does manifest Himself through me. Believing that, I’ve got to do my utmost to keep myself out of His way! Just as the styles and even personalities of the various Biblical writers come through, I know that I will “flavor” the Jesus that people see through me, but I must do everything I can to keep that from being a distortion of who He is. There must be no bitterness, for example, or conceit. Anyone who really wants to see Jesus is ripe for salvation, and I must not get in their way. The fact that I’m a missionary is no free pass. Jesus said something amazingly strict to missionaries: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.” (Matthew 23:15) The fact that I have “dedicated my life to missions” doesn’t override any of the requirements of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. In all humility I must constantly seek to let the Holy Spirit transform me into the likeness of my Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
Father, thank You for this reminder. Help me never forget it! May I be increasingly transparent, not just behind the pulpit but in every moment of my life, so that all who see me may be drawn to Jesus, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!