See

Seeing Jesus is seeing the very face of God

Read: John 12

Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 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)

“The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me.” (John 12:45)

Reflect:

After the miraculous sign of bringing Lazarus back from death to life, even foreign worshipers had heard of Jesus and wanted to see him for themselves. I wonder how many of these curious travellers became believers when they saw Jesus. How many realised that what Jesus was saying was true: that in seeing Jesus, they were seeing the LORD God himself, incarnate!

When I remember back to the occasion of my conversion to Christianity, I recognise the Spirit working in many ways over many years to bring me to that point. I also recognise that it was one single moment in time that changed my life forever, because (by the Spirit) I saw Jesus Christ clearly and realised – finally – that God had sent him to die for my sins and to save me.

It was in joyful celebration of this faith that 15 years ago we named our firstborn son Joshua, which means “God saves.”

Crux:

Seeing Jesus is seeing the very face of God.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

Thank you for opening my eyes to see Jesus clearly so I might see you fully revealed. Thank you for bringing Lazarus back to life and for bringing me to eternal life. Thank you for showing your glory to these Greeks and for showing your glory to me.

Thank you for my son Joshua. May you reveal yourself clearly and fully to him, granting him mercy to know you, love you, and find eternal life in you. May you strengthen his faith when it is weak and weaken his pride when it is strong. May he give glory to you rather than seeking it for himself. May he appreciated your mercy to him and seek to extend your mercy to others. May he proclaim your one way of salvation and your free offer of salvation, showing Jesus to all those whose eyes you open to see your Son in his glory.

Amen.

Usurpers

I need to believe in Jesus, not seek to usurp Jesus.

Read: John 11

Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.
“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.” (John 11:47-48)

Reflect:

Jesus has just raised Lazarus from the dead. This is not just any “sign”, this is a giant neon broadway sign flashing “Messiah! Messiah! Come begin your Eternal Life Here!!!”

And yet, here are the Top 70 VIP Jews, the Sanhedrin, holding a committee meeting. This scene could have been right out of some present day professional development day (makes me think of that TV show, The Office…) where the HR rep tries to focus people’s attention: “What’s our vision? Are we on task and on track? What are we accomplishing here, people?”

The sad thing is, the chief priests have got their job roles and responsibilities completely mixed up. Instead of using their positions to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah, like John the Baptist faithfully did, they’re worried about losing things that aren’t even theirs in the first place.

It’s not “our” temple, it’s the LORD’s, the place the LORD God chose as a dwelling place for his Name. (Check it out: Deuteronomy 12:3,5,11,21 etc and 1 Kings 5:5 and 8:29,35,43 etc.)

It’s not “our” nation, it is the nation the LORD made of Abraham’s descendants, a nation he chose to call his very own (Genesis 12:2, 18:18, 21:8, 46:3), a nation the LORD God calls “my people” over and over and over again (Exodus 3:7,10, 5:1, 7:4, 8:1,20-23, 9:1,13,17, 10:3 as well as Leviticus 26:12 and a gazillion other places).

Surely, what belongs to God cannot be lost by God’s people. Not to the Romans. Not to any pagan non-believers, no matter how strong they might seem in comparison to God’s people. My God is bigger, and he protects his own.

Crux:

I need to believe in Jesus, not seek to usurp Jesus.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

I acknowledge and honour you as God Most High, Sovereign Ruler over all creation and over the nation of your people most especially.

You chose to make your Name dwell in the temple in Jerusalem for a time, and you chose to dwell among your people as Immanuel, God with us, for a time. Now you dwell in the hearts of your people by your Spirit, for all time. I honour you with your current temple, my body, and seek for you to be honoured by the body of all believers, the church.

You chose to make a nation of your very own from Abraham’s descendants, and to expand your nation to all who believe in Jesus Christ. This is your new nation, your eternal nation, the church, won with the blood shed by Christ.

LORD, make me (and we, your church) a people who know exactly whom we belong to and do not let us try to usurp your position of sovereign headship. Help me to be a good citizen of your kingdom and not to desire the nonsense of dual citizenship with the nations of earth. May I represent Jesus my King well as an ambassador to those who do not believe in Jesus.

Amen.