It was the time of Passover. By mandate, Jews came from near and far to come to the feast in Jerusalem. But the Passover wasn’t the only thing they had on their minds. Jesus had captured the attention of everybody, Jews and Gentiles alike.
They were fascinated by the miracles Jesus had performed. Even more intriguing was the way Jesus challenged the religion of the day. He taught in the temple with such wisdom and power that no one could deny His authority. Who was this man? With a holy anger, Jesus rebuked the profiteering and cleared the temple of all the merchants and moneychangers. It was intimidating for the religious leaders to say the least.
Jesus broke all the rules and traditions that the religious establishment had put in place. He was unholy because He ate with the publicans and sinners. He was unclean because He touched the diseased and afflicted. This Jesus totally disregarded the law of Moses! What gave Him the right to heal people on the Sabbath day? Jesus confounded religious efforts even more by claiming “…I and my Father are one (John 10:30).” What Blasphemy!
The current religious system was working great if you were “holy”. The chief priests and Pharisees enjoyed their lofty status. They weren’t about to let this Jesus threaten their position. The more famous Jesus became, the more the religious authorities hated Him. However, they couldn’t invalidate the works and the miracles. Instead, they attempted to use the law against Him.
It was on the Sabbath day when Jesus passed by a man who had been blind from birth. While the religion of the day reasoned this man was blind because of sin, Jesus declared the man’s blindness was so “…that the works of God should be made manifest in him (John 9:3).” He was blind so that God would be glorified!
Jesus spat on the ground, made some clay, and anointed the eyes of the blind man. Then Jesus told the man to go wash in the pool of Siloam. The man went away and did as Jesus commanded him. Was this really happening? Yes, he could see for the first time in his life! But the man had yet to see Jesus, the one who had touched him.
As the jubilant man shared the great miracle Jesus had done for him, the Pharisees’ grew more and more hostile toward him. What good could come from Jesus who defied their sacred system? However, the man boldly insisted:
If [Jesus] were not of God, he could do nothing.
The religious leaders couldn’t argue, but still refused to acknowledge the great miracle that had been done. They condemned the man and cast him out as a sinner.
Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?
Now… the man not only could see in the physical, but his spiritual eyes were opened as well. He believed on Jesus and worshipped Him. There’s a difference between receiving a miracle and actually knowing the miracle maker. Many people see the work of Jesus with their physical eyes, but never really behold Jesus and embrace Him for who He really is.
Then there was the ultimate miracle when Jesus called Lazarus back to life! Was the story really true or just a rumor? Lazarus had been dead for 4 days! His body had already started to decay.
Jesus saith unto [Martha], Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?
When Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth”, a rotting corpse came out of the grave alive and well!
Now the chief priests not only wanted to put Jesus to death, but Lazarus as well.
Because they witnessed this miracle, many Jews now believed on Jesus (John 12:11). The religious leaders were desperate at this point. Jesus was corrupting everyone! “The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him (John 12:19).”
We want to see Jesus!
People gathered along the side of the road, waiting to see Jesus pass by. It wasn’t just about the miracles, but it was how He performed them. The old religion never reached out the way Jesus did. Jesus offered something more than the chief priests and scribes ever did. Jesus showed love and compassion to those that religion had condemned and rejected. Jesus touched the unclean, the hopeless, and the hurting.
And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast:
These Greeks came to worship God, but were denied full access to the temple. The Greeks were pagans and idol worshipers. They were unclean and would surely defile the temple. Still these heathens were hungry for a move of God; they needed something more than what religion had to offer. They didn’t come seeking rituals or ceremonies! They were searching for truth! Then they heard about Jesus.
21 The [Greeks] came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.
22 Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.
They pleaded with Philip. We want to see Jesus! We want to witness Him for ourselves!
I’m sure the Greeks saw Lazarus and knew the miracles were for real. They may have even watched Jesus from afar pass by. But it wasn’t enough! They wanted to see Jesus up close and personal. They wanted to experience Him for themselves.
Today, we need a fresh revelation of Jesus Christ. It’s not about miracles! It’s not about exciting, spirit-filled services! It’s not about beautiful church buildings and elaborate programs!
The real question is: Do you long to see Jesus up close and personal? To commune with Him! To stand in awe of His beauty and holiness!
Where do we find Him?
For the Greeks and anyone who was seeking something better than a dead, corrupt religion, Jesus replied…
32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.
Jesus had to die on the cross to fulfill His Father’s will. If the Greeks wanted to see Jesus, it couldn’t be through great works or miracles, nor could it be through great doctrines or discourses. If they were to see Jesus, they would have to go to the foot of His cross. Behold, Jesus, the Lamb for sinners slain!
If you truly want to see Jesus, you must look through the lens of the cross as well. Before you can even begin to walk with God, you must see Jesus through the work He did on the cross. There’s no other way! Without the cross, we have no access to God!
It’s not enough to go to church. It’s not enough to see the Spirit moving in the lives of others. You must experience Christ at the cross for yourself. When you taste the peace that comes in knowing your sins are washed away, and you are no longer a servant of the devil, then you will know you’ve seen Jesus.
However, the work of grace doesn’t stop here. Jesus didn’t go to the cross to make you a better person. He didn’t die to make you look good or feel better about yourself. You are saved for one reason: that Jesus be glorified in you!
Somebody has to be a conduit between a world that needs to see God, and a God that wants to be seen. When you are saved, you become that vessel. The world sees Christ in you!
As you study the Bible, each time you pray and seek the Lord, when you intercede for others, whatever you accomplish, it’s all so that Jesus be lifted up. When the church comes together for fellowship and prayer, to sing praises and worship God, to hear the preaching of God’s word, it’s all so that Christ be exalted.
The priority of Pentecost is not for you to get the Holy Ghost, but for the Spirit to possess you. You are baptized in the Holy Ghost not so you can boast about what you’ve got. It’s not about speaking in tongues, or miracles, or exciting church services. The purpose of the Spirit is not for entertainment or to lift people up. The Spirit comes to exalt Jesus Christ!
There’s nothing wrong with asking God to move. There’s nothing wrong with believing in faith for a miracle. We should bring all our needs to the Lord, but… until what we need lines up with what God wills, there will be a disconnect. Whatever we ask of the Lord, the ultimate goal should be to glorify Jesus Christ!
Is that your desire today? To see Christ glorified in your life? To see Christ glorified in your church?
23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.
24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
What are you willing to do to see Jesus?
What’s your motive for following Christ? Do you love Him and long to see Him, or are you more focused on His wonder working power? Is your passion for Christ or what He can do for you?
What are you willing to do to see Jesus glorified? Would you follow Jesus to the cross and sacrifice your will just to be near Him? Like that corn of wheat Jesus spoke of in John 12:24, are you willing to die to yourself so that you can grow and bring forth much fruit to glorify the Father in Heaven?
Jesus was nailed to the cross, but that cross has a back side. If you profess Christ as Lord and Savior, then you belong on the back side of that cross. The spikes that went through Christ’s wrists and into the wooden beam didn’t stop there. They protruded out through the other side through the back of the hands of all those that will say…
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Christ can’t be glorified in my life while I live! My will has to be crucified. I must surrender all I have to the one who willingly suffered and died for my sins. Christ tells me where to go, what to do, what to say, and what to think. He controls me, so the world no longer sees me, but Jesus in me.
Are you willing to be crucified with Christ?
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