April 2, 2014
Dear brothers and sisters,
I am taking the good new today from John 12:20-23.
Now there were some Greeks among those who had come up to worship at the feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”
At first reading I was struck by the apparent chain of command that seemed to have been instituted, which seems out of keeping with the way Jesus operated. Everyone came to him and were received by him. So, I don’t think that was the case. Even though Peter, James, and John seemed to be especially trusted by Jesus, the others didn’t have to go through them to get to Jesus. The Greeks that John identifies were probably adherents to Judaism or God-fearers according to the notes in the New American Bible. They approached Philip who was from Galilee and undoubtedly spoke both Aramaic and Greek, both true of Andrew as well. Like drawn to like, someone who could identify with and understand because of a common background.
Moloney in The Gospel of John explains that the word translated as “to see” was used to convey the meaning that they accepted the role of Jesus as revealer. They were seeking answers to questions about the nature of God, about the fulfillment of the word of God in their lives. They were seekers after a deeper faith, seekers of the truth that was characteristic of the Greeks.
However, Jesus responded that he must be glorified first. It is in his death and resurrection that his Father’s love would be revealed to them, that God was willing to sacrifice Himself through His Son in order to show me that I live in Him by dying to myself and that the way to Him, to His kingdom, is by giving myself sacrificially to others. The greatest love is to lay down my life for another.
The lesson that I have learned over the past two-and-a-half years is that the answers I have sought much of my adult life as a seeker of a deeper faith, of the truth, lie in the gospels. The answers are not hidden; they are in plain view. I don’t have to puzzle endlessly over what God wants for me. His will for me, His word for me, is in the words and actions of His Son that are recorded in the gospels. At least that’s the closest source I have available to me. Prayer elucidates the gospels for me in the same way that listening for God in the words of His other children brings me to a closer understanding of His will for me. Like the Greeks, I would like to see Jesus; I want to hear the truth revealed. He is in all of us going all the way back to the disciples, sometimes hidden and sometimes in plain view.