Summary: It is essential for us to see Jesus clearly. In this sermon I introduce the challenge of studying Jesus, and explain why is it essential that we do.
A. Church auditorium pulpits are interesting.
1. They can take many shapes and sizes.
2. When I first came to Wetzel Road, the pulpit was made out of paneling and was a big counter with a slanted front and sides and had a podium in the middle.
a. When I stood behind it I felt like Captain Kirk on the starship Enterprize.
b. Fortunately I found this nice small oak pulpit and refinished it.
3. Most pulpits have hidden shelves where things can be stored.
a. Normal items to be stored there are things like a Bible or Song book, but there’s no telling what ends up in there.
b. I heard about one church that has a fire-extinguisher stored there. Maybe their preacher gets a little too hot as he preaches his fire and brimstone sermons.
4. Another interesting thing about pulpits is that there are often some messages attached to the surface of the pulpit, to remind the speaker about certain things.
a. For instance our pulpit has a reminder for the person doing announcements – “Remember to announce to pass the attendance clipboards.”
b. We have two reminders on our pulpit for the preacher.
c. The first says, “Preach the Good News” and quotes John 3:16.
d. The second says, “Preach the Word” and quotes 2 Timothy 4:2.
5. I’ve heard about another church that has a brass plate with this simple inscription, “Sir, We Would See Jesus.”
B. Ultimately, that is what preaching is all about – trying in some way to help those who hear to know and believe in Jesus.
1. Every sermon ought to enable people to see Jesus more clearly and to understand Him better.
2. As a preacher, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t always hit the mark.
3. I don’t perfectly proclaim Jesus all of the time, but that is my hope and my goal.
4. And as we begin a new sermon series today that I’m calling – DEVOTED TO JESUS, I will be working even harder and more carefully at the task of proclaiming Jesus.
C. I love the story of Zacchaeus the Tax Collector found in Luke 19.
1. Jesus came to Jericho, Zacchaeus’ town, and the streets became crowded with people who wanted to catch a glimpse of Jesus.
2. Zacchaeus was a short man and could not see Jesus over the crowd, so he ran ahead of the parade and climbed a tree so that he could see Jesus.
3. When Jesus reached that spot and saw Zacchaeus up the tree, He invited himself to Zacchaeus’ house, and before the day was over, Zacchaeus became a believer.
4. How badly do you and how badly do I want to see Jesus?
5. What are we willing to do to try to get a better look at Jesus?
D. In our Scripture reading for today from John 12, we heard about a group that wanted to see Jesus.
1. Jesus was in Jerusalem. Jesus had already raised Lazarus from the dead, and had made the Triumphal Entry.
2. It was the week of Passover, the final week of His life.
3. The text tell us that some Greeks were among those who went up to worship at the Feast.
4. These Greeks are either Gentile converts to Judaism or are Jews who lived elsewhere and have come to Jerusalem to worship God at the Temple and participate in Passover.
5. They had heard marvelous things about Jesus and wanted to meet Him for themselves.
6. So they approached Philip, one of Jesus’ disciples and said, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.”
7. Now, whether they actually got to meet Jesus for themselves, we do not know.
8. Philip told Andrew about their request, and then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.
9. Jesus’ response to the request was to give a little speech. Whether that speech was given just to his disciples or to the Greeks, we do not know.
10. In that speech he talked about His eminent death, and that when He was lifted up from the earth, He would draw all men to himself.
11. So Jesus was interested in all people, both Jew and Gentile.
12. When Jesus had finished speaking, he left and hid himself from them.
E. What I’m wondering about today is how well do any of us know about Jesus?
1. Have we seen Jesus?
2. Do we have a desire to see Him even more clearly and completely?
3. Unlike Zacchaeus or this group of Greeks, we can’t climb a tree to see him better, or go to where Jesus is staying and have a little chat with him.
4. In some respects, we are at a bit of a disadvantage.