The audio was recorded at the Bethany Lutheran Church Praise and Worship service on March 22, 2015.
Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.
27 “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.
I invite you to listen to the recording. The "wondering questions" are recorded near the end of this guide.
I am thankful for Pastor Carmen Retzlaff and her wisdom which helped me to remember how to wonder!
We Wish to See Jesus
A metaphor that has been a part of John’s story since the beginning is darkness and light. John writes,
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4 in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”
The darkness, the fallenness of the world (sin), does not understand the light that is Jesus Christ. The good news does not register on their screens. This is the metaphor that John plays with throughout the story. The interplay between the darkness of the world, and the light that is Jesus.
Nicodemus went to Jesus under the cover of darkness, trying to understand what Jesus is all about. That was the conversation we heard last week when we encountered the famous John 3:16 - “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” - and the often overshadowed 3:17 - “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
But the world, the fallen system, does not understand this. The world loves darkness - did you catch that last week? It gets lost after the power of John 3:16, but Jesus says it;
“And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God (3:19-21).”
I love these Greeks. I love them because they are so random. They have come with a vague request- “We wish to see Jesus.” And this becomes the catalyst moment.
After all the signs that point to Jesus, and Jesus delaying - “My hour has not yet come” - Jesus recognizes the moment. And after words about him being lifted up, Jesus returns to the metaphor of light and darkness;
The crowd answered him, “We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 Jesus said to them, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light (12:34-36).”
In darkness of that early morning, the first day of the week, the light will break forth as good news for all the world. But we’re not there yet.
Perhaps you come, looking for a little light today. The world seems dark and dim.
We wish to see Jesus. That’s what draws us here. The power of God, Jesus lifted up for the whole world, drawing us into relationships that shine that light for the world to see.
On Saturday we hosted a "Godlyplay" workshop led by Pastor Carmen Retzlaff of one of our sister communities of faith, New Life Lutheran Church in Dripping Springs. Pastor Carmen led us in a conversation about another way of encountering the Bible, our story of faith. Another way of seeing. Jesus. Another way of witnessing to the light. See thought us how to ask "wondering questions." Questions that are not about getting the right answer. Not about squeezing the Bible to get it to tell us the truth.
Wondering questions invite us into the story. These questions give us new eyes to see, new ears to hear, and new ways to encounter God.
I want to try some today.
- I wonder when you had the request of the Greeks - “We wish to see Jesus?”
- I wonder - what is the darkness in your life that tries to block out the light of Christ?
- I wonder how the light of Christ shines in your life?
- I wonder how you are the light of Christ for someone else?
Children of Light - we are the ones who point to the light of Christ in our world. We can help those who come to us and say - we wish to see Jesus.
Thank you for your partnership in the Gospel.