Summary: Can we "see Jesus"?
Now there are a lot of things going on in our scripture for today. And it may seem that some of those things don’t go together. We’ve got Greeks wanting an audience with Jesus, Jesus talking about gardening, His death, the weather, and God talking to Jesus from heaven. A little bit confusing, you might say.
Maybe kind of like watching a political speech. You come away wondering just what was said. Now I know a lot of you, maybe with good reason, look at politicians the same way the Native Americans looked at the settlers back in the 1800’s. You think they are speaking with a forked tongue or, to put it another way, talking out of both sides of their mouth.
That’s why, after the speech, a political analyst comes on to tell you what you just heard in laymen’s terms or, as I like to call it, plain English. Cause we’ve all seen the look, I’ve seen it a few times from up here. The look that, if I asked you if you understand, you’d say, “Yep, clear as mud”, and you’d walk away shaking your head. Their job is to clear up the muddy waters, to help us to see what the speaker wanted us to see.
When we come to a passage like this, it is part of my responsibility to help you to understand what is really being said, to clear up those “muddy waters”.
So let’s wade into the water, and as we do, we meet some Greeks. They come to Philip with a request to see Jesus. Now why did they want to see Jesus? What was their motivation? Well, we see it even today, people flock to the different, the unusual. The bearded lady, the two-headed calf, a roller skating horse, and on and on.
Well, what Jesus was doing was unusual, even for today. He was making the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the mute speak, and the dead rise. He cleansed lepers and cast out demons. No wonder the Greeks and many others wanted to see Him.
So, when Philip and Andrew approach Jesus to pass along the message that some Greeks want to have an audience with Him, what does Jesus do? He doesn’t get on the intercom and say, “Send them in.” No, He says, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”
How many times in the gospels have you heard Jesus say my hour has not yet come or my time has not yet come? But this time He says, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” We know something has changed, something is going to happen, kind of like when the music in a movie builds to a pivotal scene.
And then Jesus starts talking gardening. He tells of a grain of wheat being just that unless it falls to the ground and dies. Then it “bears much fruit”. Philip and Andrew (maybe us, too) have that, “Yep, clear as mud” look on their faces. Somebody wants to see Jesus and He’s talking about wheat.
Now you would have to agree that there is no comparison between the value of a diamond and a kernel of corn. Put both away and in 100 years, the corn will still have no money value, but the diamond will be worth much more. Same thing at the end of 1,000 years. But what if we put the kernel of corn away in the rich earth? Farmers, help me out here. One kernel will produce 1 stalk with two, maybe three ears on it, right? And each ear will have maybe 200-300 kernels on it.
Now, if you took each of those kernels the next year and did the same thing they’d reproduce in the same proportion and so on each year. In 1000 years that kernel of corn would have produced so much in value that the value of that diamond would be mere pennies in comparison.
Jesus is comparing himself to a grain of wheat. His death, to a grain sown and decomposed in the ground and His resurrection to the blade which springs up from the dead grain (Clark’s commentary, 609). By dying the grain bears much fruit and by Jesus dying and being glorified the fruit of the church is established. ……The waters are clearing, I hope.
The Greeks, seekers of knowledge and wisdom, could never explain how one grain could become 200 or 1,000, how it meshes with the soil, water, and sunlight to grow into wheat. Nor could they tell how our bodies are nourished by this produce of the ground; how wheat, made into bread, becomes a part of our living bodies.
Nor can we explain how this bread of which we partake during communion becomes a part of our living bodies, both physically AND spiritually. This bread, in being blessed and representing the broken body of Jesus, has both physicality and spirituality. We may not understand it, but we know that it does, which leads into verse 27. (READ)