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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Inspired by . . . Holy Week: Tuesday

20 Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. 21 Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”22 Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn Andrew and Philip told Jesus.23 But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. 24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. (John 12:20-26)
This passage of scripture has always been a little obscure for me. But with further study and prayer parts of it, at least, are becoming clear.

So here is the scene: Jesus is teaching, probably in one of the outer courts of the temple where anyone could come and listen to Him. And people do come. Jesus is surrounded, as He often was, by a throng of people. The scripture tells us that some who had come to listen were Gentiles (non-Jews). They apparently recognize Philip as one of Jesus' disciples and ask to see Jesus. Philip finds Andrew and they approach Jesus together and tell Him about the men who wish to see Him.

All very straightforward. You expect Jesus to answer their request. Either with a no, as He did to the Gentile woman in Mark 7 or a yes, perhaps praising their desire to come and worship God even though, as Gentiles, they would be shut out of most of the feasts, etc

Yet in true Godly fashion, meaning His ways are not our ways (!), Jesus does neither. In fact, He seems not to respond to the men's request at all. In truth, He does respond and when we shift our focus from looking for the human response to remembering Who Jesus is and why He came, His words become more clear.

These men may not have been Jews but they believed in God and had come to Jerusalem to worship Him. Travel in those days was no easy task. I think it's fair to assume that these men had to sacrifice to make the journey. They were not casual believers. 

They learned about Jesus and sought Him out. They desired to be acquainted with Him. In this way, and the way that they addressed Philip (Sir, in Greek kurios, a respectful title) they were showing Jesus honor.

Jesus responds by accepting that honor and foretelling of the honor that will be given Him and all who follow Him.

Can you imagine their joy upon hearing His words? To be accepted by Jesus and honored by the Father - as Gentiles it was far more than they could have hoped for!

John doesn't record their response most likely because Jesus is still speaking and a moment later a voice sounds from heaven! 
28 Father, glorify Your name.”Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”
How is God's name to be glorified? By Jesus' death on the cross. 

Not only did Jesus conquer death, He redeemed (bought back) all men (Jews and Gentiles) to God. That is the great mystery revealed that Paul talks about in Ephesians 3.
3 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles— 2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: 6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, 7 of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power.
As believers on this side of the cross, I think it may be hard for us to understand what it was like to believe and worship God and yet be shut out of the temple. No matter what they did, the Gentiles were forever unclean. 

The truth is, in that regard, nothing has changed.

No matter what we do, no matter how hard we try, we cannot fix or redeem our sin.

Only the blood of Christ can wash away our sins. Only through faith in Jesus Christ can we be reconciled (made right) with God.
6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Let us rejoice in this Good News that has glorified the Father and brought hope to all of mankind.


Sharing inspiration here:
#TellHisStoryFaith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, #HeartEncouragement,
Thoughtful Thursdays#w2wwordfilledwednesday,
Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments,
#DanceWithJesus; Imparting Grace

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If you read something here that inspired you, I’d love to hear about it. Please know I appreciate every comment! Thanks so much for stopping by! Blessings, June