Summary: Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who despise their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
Title: The Cross of Commitment… the Paradox of Following Christ.
Text: John 12:20-33
Thesis: Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who despise their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
It is always an interesting question: If you could choose five people you would like to meet, who would you choose?
I looked into how others have answered that question. They are all mostly random but curious choices. One chose Ghandi, Jesus, Hitler, Leonardo DaVinci and Paris Hilton. Another’s list exclaimed, “That’s easy! Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Meryl Streep.” I don’t quite see how Meryl Streep fits in there but… One humorist listed, “the Animals from the Muppets, Jessica Biel, Dwight Shrute, Cosmo Kramer and Juan Valdez.”
I think my favorite list was a list of dead people. He wrote that he would like to hang with a caveman from about 10,000 years ago so he could get a glimpse into what it would be like to be a caveman; Leonardo DiVinci so he could ask him who posed for the Mona Lisa; Mark Twain because of his wit; Marco Polo who would probably have a lot of interesting travel stories to tell; and Shakespeare so he could find out if he really did write all that stuff.
Though tempted to give you my list of people I would like to meet, it would probably make you question my curiosity so I probably has better simply defer to our text. It is a story about some people who wanted to meet Jesus.
Of all the people you might like to meet, who wouldn’t like to meet Jesus?
I. Who Wouldn’t Want to Meet Jesus?
Some Greeks who had come to Jerusalem to attend the Passover paid a visit to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee. They said, “Sir, we want to meet Jesus.” Philip told Andrew about it, and they went together to ask Jesus. John 12:20-22
It seems some people from Greece had traveled to Jerusalem to attend the Passover. It is possible that they were proselytes to Judaism. It is more likely that they were just being good Greeks. The Greek people were a curious and philosophical people. They were said to spend all their time discussing the latest ideas. They were known travelers… Barclay said they traveled “to find things out.” So they may have been in Jerusalem to experience the Passover like we might go to New Orleans to experience Mardi Gras.
For whatever reason, some Greeks were in Jerusalem and they may or may not have seen Jesus driving the vendors and money changers out of the temple. But they had heard about Jesus and they wanted to meet him. So they approached Philip and asked for an audience with Jesus. The bible says Philip told Andrew and together they went to ask Jesus if he would like to meet some Greek folks.
When I was growing up my Dad loved to watch Hee Haw so we all watched it. I am still amused when I think of Junior Samples Used Car pitch about being as honest as the day is long just before he offers some outrageous false advertisement. And then he would say, “If you’d like to buy a car call BR-549.” On one occasion the sheriff came to verify the ownership of a car on his lot. The sheriff asked Junior if he could see his pink slip and Junior said, “I’m not wearin’ one and even if I was I wouldn’t show it to you.”
Another skit that comes to mind was Junior and another Hee Haw character dressed as Greeks. One is wearing torn bib overalls. He takes hold of his torn overalls and asks, “Euripides?” And the other Greek answered, “No Euripidem!”
I don’t know if Jesus and the Greeks exchanged pleasantries as in, “Hello, I’m Euripides.” And Jesus said, “Pleased to meet you, I’m Jesus.”
But the teaching that followed was a teaching before a crowd of people. A lot of people, in fact crowds of people wanted to meet Jesus. Who wouldn’t want to meet him? Jesus had developed quite a reputation. Wherever he went he healed sick people. On one occasion he fed 5,000 people with some small loaves of bread and a few fish. It was being rumored that he was in fact the Messiah. He had walked on water. Just days earlier he had raised his friend Lazarus, who had been dead and buried for four days, back to life. And Jesus he had just ridden into town as “The King who comes in the Name of the Lord.”
As celebrities go, Jesus was one and people wanted to meet him.
But as he gave his teaching on that day one would have to wonder, “Why would you want to meet Jesus?”