So you want to see Jesus
There is no way these Greek Gentiles could have known what all was going on in Jesus’ life the day they asked Phillip, “We would like to see Jesus.” John 12:20-33 His crucifixion was only a few days away; He was about out of time. In fact, this event was either the same day of the second cleansing of the Temple or the day after. It is possible that the cleansing of the Temple provoked their desire to see Jesus. Phillip wasn’t sure what to tell them, so he consulted Andrew, then both of them went to Jesus with the request of the Gentiles.
It wasn’t like Jesus never had any contact with Gentiles. He taught the woman at well in Samaria about salvation, He healed the Centurion’s servant, He cast out the demons from the man at Gadara, He healed the woman with the 12-year long bleeding issue, He healed the daughter of the Syrophoenician woman, He healed a deaf/mute Gentile man, He fed 4,000 Gentile men (actually 12,000 men, women, children), He healed 10 lepers, at least one of them a Samaritan and He even used Gentiles in one of His most famous parables-the Good Samaritan. So contact with Gentiles wasn’t a new thing.
What were Jesus’ very first words for these first-time contacts? Was it words of how much He loved them, how special they were, what great times were around the corner? Not hardly. He began with what sounded like great times; He began with Himself being glorified which brought thoughts of victory to mind. That sounded amazing, for about 5 seconds. Then He defined what He meant about being glorified. His glory was going to be like a seed that died in the ground. He followed that up with “hating your life” so you could find eternal life. Then He added that anyone who wanted to follow Him had to serve Him and go where He went. Keep in mind that He had just said He was going to be like the seed that died. Not hardly like most witnessing plans and presentations these days, huh.
Jesus then revealed that even though the Gentiles had found Him deeply troubled, He was not about to ask Father God to save Him from what was around the corner. (the dying seed) Then He lifted His voice to heaven and boldly asked, “Father, glorify your name!” And Father God did just that: Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”
God only spoke out loud from heaven 3 times during Jesus’ life:
1- Mt 3:17, at His baptism: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
2- Mk 9:7, at the transfiguration: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”
3- Jn 12:28, here: “I have glorified it (my name), and will glorify it again.”
What a day that was for those eager Gentiles who just asked to “see Jesus”. They were blessed with so much more than they ever expected. And Jesus wasn’t done with them yet. He added, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I an lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
He reminded the Gentiles once more that He was about die, but that when He was lifted up (on the cross) Satan would be defeated through His death. That brought special meaning to God’s words from heaven, “I will glorify it again.” God’s supreme glorification of His name was revealed to the whole world in the death and resurrection of Christ.
Sometimes when we ask God for something small and simple, like the eager Gentiles, we receive WAY MORE THAN WE ASKED FOR. That’s the way God works. God bless.
Mike Sublett is a pastor at Hi-Land Christian Church, 1615 N. Banks St., Pampa, Texas 79065. Email him at email@example.com.