One aspect of Lent as it leads to Easter is that of introspection, thinking about what is going on inside ourselves, what is happening in the world around us, who we are interacting with and how that all fits together.
John 12:20-33 relates a story about some who came seeking Jesus: “Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’
“Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn Andrew and Philip told Jesus. But Jesus answered them, saying, ‘The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honour. Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.’
“Then a voice came from heaven, saying: ‘I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.’ Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said: ‘An angel has spoken to Him.’ Jesus answered and said: ‘This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.’ This He said, signifying by what death He would die.”
These Greeks were not the usual people to be seeking out a messiah, yet for some reason they came to see Jesus. Jesus response of talking about being glorified and dying perhaps seems a bit odd to us. At least I don’t think that is the first place I would go if someone asked to see me.
But Jesus understood that though he was the Messiah, the promised one of Israel, it was not his role to merely glorify himself, but rather that he waits for the Father to glorify the Son.
There were those there that when the voice from heaven spoke they understood, others heard only thunder and some thought it was an angel. I wonder what those Greeks heard, I wonder what I would have heard had I been there? We so often ask the ‘WHY’ question of the events around us, I wonder though, if perhaps we should ask; what did we really hear or see? Did God do or allow something for us to hear from Him, or did we just miss the real message that was on offer had we been tuned in right.
I hope we can be like these Greeks and seek Jesus, I hope as we ponder the events around us that we might encounter God and not mistake His voice for that of an angel or just another storm in our lives.
Looking and Listening,
Rev. Jon Bergen
Brechin Baptist Fellowship