Summary: "Can you help us?”If the question is ever asked of you, where will you go with it? Maybe it won't be direct but cloaked in pain, soaked in questions or the agony of searching for an answer when no answers come.
Scripture: John 12:20-36
(The Message) – “We want to see Jesus. Can you help us?" (v21)
Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers (Newfoundland comedy group) feature a song on one of their albums called “Only 19”. It is the story of a young man who married what he thought was his young bride until they got ready for their first night together. She removed her cork leg, make-up that’s equated to a gallon of paint, followed by false eyebrows and wig to expose a bald head. The song suggests “She was handier 90 than 19 years old.”
Things are not always as they appear. When we get beneath the surface of the exterior sometimes it’s a different story.
Today’s text is a lesson that Jesus is not as he appears. There’s more to Him than the fanfare of waving palm branches followed by fickle people shouting he’s the best thing that ever happened to them. When they got beneath the surface it wasn’t so pretty and they scattered like startled sheep.
The Greeks knew there was more to Jesus than meets the eye. They wanted the complete picture, the whole package, the straight goods. That’s where we pick up the story with our text and their probing question to Philip, “We want to see Jesus. Can you help us?”
If the question is ever asked of you, where will you go with it? Maybe it won’t be direct but cloaked in pain, soaked in questions or the agony of searching for an answer when no answers come.
If you want to answer that question and not run away from the opportunity there are three suggestions I offer, lessons that God impresses on us if we resolve to show them Jesus when they want to see.
“Can you help us?”
1. We can help by leading them to truth
The Greeks (Gentiles) who asked to see Jesus may have already been converted to Judaism. However, they were a people in search of truth. Their quest was to get behind the scenes of the obvious externals and explore the unattractive qualities and controversial side of this radical, unsafe, complicated Jesus.
In any quest for truth it was said, “It is not hard to find the truth; what is hard is not to run away from it once you have it.” (Etienne Gilson) Carol Gustav Jung said, “Our world is so exceedingly rich in delusions that a truth is priceless.” The Greeks’ quest is a trait we would do well to desire.
Their pursuit starts with Philip (a Greek) who didn’t know what to do and so went to Andrew; Andrew, with Philip, immediately went to Jesus. Why Philip didn’t think to simply say “let’s go” is a mystery which we’ll consider in a few moments.
In their pursuit of truth the Greeks were not exploring a philosophy but a person. It is an idea that author and minister, Lisa Bevere speaks of as she reminds us with Scripture that we must move from understanding truth as a “what” and see truth as a “Who” – John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the…truth…”