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Articles

2014.04.06: WE WISH TO SEE JESUS

“Then they came to Philip who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”…. But Jesus answered them saying…  “Most assuredly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone; but if it dies it produces much grain. “ (John 12:22-24)
 

Here was Jesus at the height of His popularity. He had just entered Jerusalem on a donkey; crowds had thronged the streets laying down leafy branches, proclaiming Him as the King of Israel, the Messiah (v13, 15). They came in part because of the resurrection of Lazarus the week before. The Pharisees saw danger. “See,” they said to one another, “The world has gone after Him!” (v19). Not just the Jews but even Greek proselytes wanted to meet Him. He was in demand. Political momentum was His to seize. Yet strangely He seemed preoccupied only with the subject of death: “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it abides alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain,” He mused.
 

What did He mean? Clearly he was referring to His coming death as one that would produce much fruit. His refusal to ride on fame for personal gains was bewildering. He was going to the cross. And there was no turning back. “If I am lifted up, I will draw all peoples to Myself” (v32-33). His temporary acclaim was a mere distraction; it simply foreshadowed a greater future harvest that would be realized only after Calvary. In His dying the world would live. In giving up His life we would see Him. He never let the fickle crowds sway Him away from this.
 

So what must we do if we are to “see Jesus” today? There is a sense that we too, must fall to the ground and die, like that grain of wheat. Die to what? To our self-life. A crucified life brings His Life to the fore. As we lift Jesus up, people will be drawn to Him. But what marks such a life? Well a crucified man is facing only one direction. He’s not looking back and longing for the world and its attractions. What else? He’s got no big plans of his own. His plans are out of his hands; they’re in God’s hands. And one final thing: the crucified man takes on the shape of the cross. He doesn’t draw attention to himself. The Cross shapes him. This Cross will always slay the devil and cast him out (v31). For it is in dying that we live the life of power and “produce much grain!” There is no better time to reach out to our families and friends in the power of the Cross than at Easter. Now is the time for them to see Jesus!

 


2014 YEAR OF FAVOUR
Ps Dr Philip Lyn