We Would Like To See Jesus
By Dave Butts
"Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘we would like to see Jesus’" (John 12:20-21).
This is an amazing story in Scripture. At the same time that the religious leaders of the day were trying to silence Jesus, these Gentiles were trying to find Him. There is something about Jesus that draws people to Him; especially those who are free from traditional expectations. The Jews of that day were expecting a political Messiah who would free them from Roman rule. Jesus didn’t match those expectations and consequently was rejected by His own people. But here are some Greeks…outsiders who have heard of this wonder-working rabbi from Galilee… and their desire is to see Him.
I think it is possible for those same factors to be at work today. The Lord’s own people can become so used to church services and the way things have been that they fail to recognize Jesus. Sometimes it takes the "outsiders," those without a church background, to be the ones who develop a true passion to see the Lord. The story of the Gospel is so new and amazing to them that they take seriously the commands to live out the life of Christ to a world that so desperately needs Him.
My question is, "Can we who have walked with Him for years…who have perhaps sat in church services for decades…still have that passion to see and know Him?" Obviously the answer is "yes." There are those who have continued to develop their love walk with the Lord even after many years. But there are many whose love has grown cold. So ultimately the questions are, "How can we stoke the fires of passionate love for Jesus? How can we see the end better than the beginning? Can we who have known Him the longest, love Him the most?"
Scriptures teach us that rather than wearing out and growing cold in our love for the Lord, the exact opposite is to take place. Paul writes to the Corinthians, "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit" (2 Cor. 3:18). It is an ever-increasing glory that is to be occurring in our lives as we live out the life of faith.
What can keep this fire burning within us? I believe the Greeks who came to Philip had the key, whether they knew it or not. They said, "We would like to see Jesus."
Looking to Jesus is the answer. Longing to see Him is to be our most basic desire. When Paul wrote to the Colossians he encouraged them to "set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God."
If we look to the Church, we may get discouraged. If we look to the task ahead, we may get weary. If we look to ourselves, we will give up. It is in looking to Jesus, in all His glory and sovereignty over all things, that everything falls into proper perspective.
Our difficulty is that even in the Lord’s Church, we often look to everyone and everything but Jesus. We get so distracted by busyness and the affairs of this world that we forget to look to Jesus. As David Bryant said, we often find ourselves making Jesus our mascot instead of our monarch…He’s around but not in charge.
Oh, how the Church will be changed when we see Jesus for who He really is. Look what happened to the Apostle John when he saw Jesus in His glorified body: "…and among the lampstands was someone ‘like a son of man,’ dressed in a robe reaching down to His feet and with a golden sash around His chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead" (Rev.1:13-17).
It is time for the Church of Jesus Christ to see Jesus! To see Him as He really is…not as a mascot, but as our monarch. Colossians 1:15-20 is perhaps the most powerful, vivid presentation in Scripture of who this Jesus, whom we worship, really is: "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross."
When the Lord’s own people turn their faces to heaven and begin to long to see Jesus…to develop that passion and hunger for His presence…then the Lord Himself will fulfill that longing with His own precious presence. Revival! Awakening! And those from the outside will begin to see and hear of this move of God in the midst of His people. Then, they will also begin to have the same request that Philip heard from those Greeks so long ago: "We would like to see Jesus."
"Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn" (Isa. 60:3).