Is this the Jesus we wish to see?
Among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 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. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.
“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. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die. 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?” 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. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.”
After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them.
“Sir we wish to see Jesus.” The request is filled with such hope. These Greeks who have come for the festival must have heard about Jesus and wished to know more. What a time to show up, when the authorities are looking to kill Jesus and he is speaking about his death. Could they not come for one of Jesus’ healings or the feeding of the five thousand? We don’t know if they got to see Jesus or if they heard what he said. If they did, what would they have made of this Jesus who tells us to lose our life to save it as a grain of wheat dies to bear much fruit, this Jesus whose name is glorified by a voice from heaven, this Jesus who declares he will be lifted up and draw all people to himself, and this Jesus who invites us not only to believe in the light, but to become children of the light?
What do we make of these words of Jesus on this Holy Tuesday as we journey with Jesus towards the cross? Is this the Jesus we wish to see? What are we hoping for this Holy Week?
There is much here to ponder. Each sentence could be its own meditation and yet each sentence points to the same message – Jesus is inviting us into communion with God – into love, into bearing fruit, into being lifted up and into light. The message pushes past the edges of our understanding, but also draws us in. Even as Jesus describes his death, he promises more. Perhaps it does not matter when we show up. We can show up for the healing or words about his death. We can show up for Easter Sunday or the Good Friday service. Jesus is ready and waiting for us – waiting with love – to give his life for us and invite us to a new way of being.
I invite you to show up this Holy Week and Easter – whether it is at in-person worship at church, online worship, gathering with friends or prayer time on your own. Show up, see Jesus and all that he has for you.
Jesus, faithful servant of God, sometimes it is difficult for us to know how to be faithful. Help us to discern your will and follow you with gladness.
Jesus, faithful servant of God, in this most holy of weeks, we see the brokenness of our world.
Help us to be people who faithfully bring forth justice.
Jesus, faithful servant of God, we know the world longs for healing. Help us to be people of hope and bearers of light.
Jesus, faithful servant of God, we want to be the people you long for us to be. Help us to walk in your love.