“We would like to see Jesus”
This was the plea of some Greeks who wanted to meet Jesus while they were worshiping at a festival. How simple and direct this request is. There are still days as a Christian that I want to see Jesus. I want the experience and the feelings. I want the tangible expression of God to be over me so I could have no doubt. The reality though, is that this has never been my experience. Quite often, I feel cold to all of it. Not unfeeling or uncaring but simply devoid of the “experiential” aspect of the Christian faith that all too often dominates the headlines in a majority of Christian circles.
I think the men in this bible passage were either believers, or curious enough to want to know more and wanted to hear it straight from Jesus’ lips. It seems that’s the last we hear of these men, but Jesus did reply to the request that came through his apostles, Andrew and Philip. I can imagine the apostles running back and relaying all that Jesus said or maybe, Jesus called these men to him and spoke directly! Either way, his answer pointed to the future fulfillment of what he came to do.
Jesus is that kernel of wheat spoken of in the scripture passage. The one that would fall and die in order to produce many seeds. Even here, he is calling people to follow him as he prepares to die on a tree. A tree which becomes a firm root that eventually bears the fruit of faith in everyone grafted in.
“We want to see Jesus.”
Then Look at the cross.
Is that what we tell people?
Do we invite people to church because of a bruised and battered Savior on a cross that heals your relationship with the creator? Do we invite them because they are sinners desperately needing saving from a horrible wrath? Do we have coffee with them and tell them that to follow in faith, it’s not about the blessings in this world, but the one given to them in eternity? The cross is counter cultural to the world. It is not perfect lives, families, jobs, etc.. That is American Christianity. Christianity in its most honest form is Isis beheading you for a faith you will not renounce, OR even the guilt you have and the forgiveness you’ve been given for a faith you may renounce when threatened. The Christian faith at its core is messy, imperfect, ugly and sometimes difficult. It is not unwavering, but it is, “help my unbelief”. It is knowing Christ is our help in every situation even when we can’t see or feel it. He is just as present in our doubt and fear, and maybe even more so.
It’s sad that when many teach people to “see Jesus”, it often becomes a bait and switch job. They say, “come meet Jesus”, but what they get is, “if you follow him, then he’ll heal you, prosper you, help your marriage, etc..” People don’t attend these so-called revivals to get Jesus, they go to get their wants and needs met. It’s unfortunate that they don’t want Jesus, just everything that Jesus can bless them with.
I plead with you to see Jesus, the real Jesus. The one who saves. The one who forgives. The one who is at the center of our messed up, often sin-tainted lives. I plead with you to give them that Jesus. The one who died for them. The one who said, they will hate you, because they hated me. Most people come and meet a watered down Jesus because that’s the glass you hand them to drink from.
“We would like to see Jesus”
If someone asks that question, give them the Jesus that saves…