Sermon title: We Would Like to See Jesus
Here is the setting. There are Greeks who are at the Jewish Passover festival and they want to see Jesus! They are outsiders to the Jewish faith and culture but have become interested in that faith. They have a request for the disciple Phillip, “We would like to see Jesus” (John 12:21).
Jesus, the name above all names (Philippians 2:9). Jesus, the name at which every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that he is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11). The crowds at Passover are already acknowledging that Israel’s king is here (John 12:12-15). The word on the street is that Jesus raised a man named Lazarus from the dead (John 12:9-11).
Wouldn’t you want to see Jesus as well?
What does it mean to see Jesus? I think it is an expression of desire and need. It is a metaphor of value and priority. It is a symbol of relational longing. It is one more way to understand the essence of the Christian faith—seeing Jesus.
Why do you need to see Jesus every day? How strongly do you desire this day to see Jesus? What are you doing to see Jesus today?
I find this immensely challenging. If someone wants to see Jesus, will they know that you are the one to go to? Will others be so attracted to you, recognizing there is something about you that makes you an obvious pathway to Jesus?
As you read each chapter this week, keep these reflection questions in mind:
• What does this chapter teach me about Jesus’ character?
• What does this chapter teach me about what Jesus is doing?
• What difference will reading this chapter make in my life?
• What does this chapter tell me about what Jesus wants from me?
Then pray and look to “practice the presence and pursue the purposes of Jesus” according to what you have read.
The birth narrative section is over and the ministry of Jesus is off and running; that is, after a 40-day stint of temptation and testing in the wilderness. This is where the devil tries to derail the redemptive mission of Jesus before it begins. Jesus is triumphant and then gives his first message, which defines who he is and what he will do. Why do you think the people reacted the way they did? Preaching, casting out demons, healing the sick—this is who Jesus is and what he does.
Dramatic healings (and the reactions to those healings) are central to this chapter. This is also where we find Jesus calling his first disciples. Pay close attention to his calling and their response. Also, pay close attention to verse 16. What do you think of that practice of Jesus?
Here we see one of Jesus’ run-ins with the Pharisees, as Jesus has conflicts with the religious rulers of his day. This chapter also includes some key teachings of Jesus, especially concerning love for neighbors and not judging others. Jesus emphasizes the type of behavior that should be demonstrated by those who love and follow him.
This chapter includes a key story from Jesus’ ministry on earth. Pay close attention to how Jesus describes what it means to be born again. Have you ever found this phrase confusing, like Nicodemus? Nicodemus was a religious authority, but still he had questions.
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