Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:20–25)
Seeing Jesus, more often than not, means something different than we think it does.
The Greeks in John 12 sought Jesus because they presumed He could contribute something to their life. Look beneath the surface of their request and you’ll find that they were primarily concerned with their own personal fulfillment; they believed they could benefit socially or religiously by associating with someone as important as Jesus of Nazareth. Which is why Jesus, knowing what is in the heart of man (John 2:25), responded to the request, saying, “Whoever loves his life loses it.”
Today it’s all too easy for us to come to church the same way these Greeks came to Philip, wanting to “see Jesus” without really recognizing what’s at stake.
Too often we come to church loving our life and seeking fulfillment when we should be coming to abandon our life and to seek what is eternal.
In other words, we need to come seeking Jesus because we need to die to ourselves so that we can truly live in Him. This is what Jesus is saying in John 12. He essentially tells Andrew and Philip, If anyone really wants to see me, they must look upon me in my death and be willing to lose their lives with me. It is only by being crucified that anyone will truly behold my glory.
The mysterious thing about Christ’s glory is that only those who are willing to die with Him come alive to it.
To those unwilling to lose their life, His glory is obscured and will never be truly realized. No matter how many times they sing the words “Show us Your glory” in a worship gathering, they will never see it. Why? Because “the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified”—that is, the hour of His glory is the hour of the cross. And the reality of that hour defines the entire life of a Christ-follower.
Perhaps at one time or another we have sang or talked about His glory without any real recognition of what it entails. If so, we would do well to make this prayer by Charles de Foucauld our own:
Father, I abandon myself into Your hands;
Do with me what You will.
Whatever You may do, I thank You;
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only Your will be done in me.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into Your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to You with all the love of my heart,
For I love You, Lord, and so need to give myself,
To surrender myself into Your hands without reserve,
And with boundless confidence, for You are my Father.
To pray this is essentially to pray with Jesus on the night He was handed over to be crucified: “Not my will but Yours be done.” It is the heart-cry of all those who, handing themselves over to be crucified with Him, have come alive to His glory. Let us therefore come to church for no other reason than to die so that we may truly see Jesus.
PRAYER AND REFLECTION
- In John 21:18, Jesus tells Peter, “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” So often we, like Peter in his younger years, prize our freedom to be self-defined and self-determined. However, seeing Jesus means that we are willing to give up this freedom. In what areas of your life are you holding on to self-definition and self-determination? What parts of you need to be crucified in order that you might know the glory of Christ more truly?
- Do you find it difficult to pray de Foucauld’s prayer and really mean it? Why or why not?
- When you come to church this Sunday, will you settle firmly in your own mind that you will come ready to die to yourself in whatever way God desires? Pause for a moment and prayerfully surrender to Him. Such surrender is the key to seeing His glory in gathered worship. What would it look like for LifePoint Church to be surrendered? Can you imagine what God might do among us?
Set list for Sunday, August 11, 2019:
- Then He Rose (M. Brock, C. Brown, S. Furtick, C. Tomlin)
- Worthy Of Your Name (B. Brown, S. Curran, B. Younker)
- Glorious Day (S. Curran, J. Ingram, J. Smith, K. Stanfill)
- Holy Ground (J. Cravity, M. Fieldes, M. Malone, B. Younker)
- Heart Abandoned (S. Curran, K. Stanfill)