Summary: Christians are the soil for the seeds that give eternal life.
Death to Life
During this lent season We have taken a few snapshots of different places in Jesus ministry, Last week we visited John’s description from the beginning of Jesus ministry in chapter 2 where he runs their animals and convenience store clerks out of the temple.
We made a connection to how the market influenced the ability of the gentiles to worship. The stockyard odors and noises of sellers interfered with the ability to hear what was going on around the actual altar. I asked you to examine some of the things that you might have in your life that may interfere in a similar way.
Some of the things I suggested might be influence of other people related to holiness or clothing, health… basically any thing that you should ask for Jesus to asset you and removing from your temple of your heart and mind.
-- Today our scripture has a little less action. It is the same time of year but 2 years later. It is the Passover season and Jesus and his disciples are in Jerusalem. The city is packed as usual. People have come form all over the region to join in the festival. There are a few differences in the situation. Last week Jesus was at the beginning of his ministry and was not well known.
When he cleared out the market area he as actually acting in a correct and righteous way. He as not arrested and the only challenge he had for causing a scene we some Jews…not necessarily leaders…asking about his authority.
On this occasion the crowds are packed in to the temple but there are some Greeks that want to meet Jesus. Jesus is no longer just a stranger with a passion for the house of God. He is a teacher that is talked about all around the region….
“Have you heard about this man Jesus? He does miracles...feeds thousands of people, heals people with all kinds of sickness. He teaches with authority.”
People are talking about this teacher and where ever he goes people recognize him on sight. Pharisees, Sadducees, Levites and priest follow him around and keep tabs on him. Beggars and blinded and crippled people call out to him as he passes by. Lepers are even bold enough to approach.
In our reading this morning we have another group that is interested in seeing Jesus for themselves.
It said that some Greeks had come to the feast. Not Jewish Greeks, not proselytes – or converts…Just Greeks.
Why would Greeks – known for believing in many Gods come to Jerusalem at Passover? It is likely that they were believers in the God of the Jews.
However, belief was not enough to be able to gain membership into the Jewish religion. You had to go through a process which included circumcision.
We don’t really know what their association with them Passover was but these seekers were in the middle of the craziness of the feast and approach Philip.
21They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. "Sir," they said, "we would like to see Jesus." 22Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
Philip seems shy bout making an introduction on his own and he goes tot his brother Andrew. And together they tell Jesus about the seekers.
Let me think that through. Jesus is constantly surrounded by people. He has been teaching and healing his way around the country. Why do these Greeks have a problem, approaching Jesus?
I guess it could be cultural. Perhaps they thought they needed an introduction. After all Jesus was something like a celebrity. Lots of Jews were impressed with his abilities. He has this inner circle of disciples that seems to shield Jesus from the public.
Maybe they feared that they would be rejected if they approached Jesus directly after all they are Foreigners, they are probably not Jewish.
It s suggested that these Greeks approach Philip because his name is a Greek name and not a Jewish one. Andrew’s name is also Greek. Perhaps these visitors thought that they could gain an audience by approaching people with similar backgrounds.
I still wonder why they were unable to just join the crowds and get closer to Jesus on their own.
Then I connected with something.
Jesus has access to leave the court of the gentiles and to pass through the court of women and enter into the court of Israel. It is likely that Jesus was teaching well inside these other areas of the temple complex. Well out of reach of the Greeks that perhaps had no standing even in the court of the gentiles. The may have been restricted to that area outside that short wall in the drawings we looked at last week because they would not have been considered legitimate worshipers unless they made certain commitments and alterations to their lifestyle and eating habits.