we want to see Jesus." -John 12:21
a music artist on a recording may be the next best thing to being there.
However, What a difference a live performance can make. "Live and in
person" communicates how good an artist really is. It works the other
way too of course. Sometimes advance hype and studio techniques wither
when a live performance disappoints. Hearing about something or someone
often creates interest, arouses curiosity, causes a stir and a sensation.
But, as the old adage goes, seeing is believing. An
interesting story in John's Gospel connects seeing and believing. St. John
describes how some Greeks, having heard about Jesus, come to see him. They
pitch their request to Philip with the simple plea, "Sir, we
want to see Jesus." It may be that they approached Philip
because Philip had a Greek name. The Greek strangers put their request to
someone like them, someone who speaks their language. This is their best
chance of getting introduced to the Jesus about whom they have heard so
much. We never find out for certain if the Greeks actually meet Jesus; but
reading between the lines the message seems to be clear. Greeks from afar
have come to see Jesus. Their visit and their request marks the beginning
of wide spread belief in Jesus as the Christ of Glory. Biblical scholar
Raymond Brown describes how, in this instance, "to see Jesus"
means to "meet with him" and "to believe in him".
holy Greeks in this story had the real possibility of meeting Jesus in the
flesh. We know, as well, that the resurrection experience allowed
Jesus' followers to see the risen Lord. What about us? Where do we search
in hopes of seeing and believing in Jesus? John's Gospel tells us blessed
are those who have not seen and yet believe; but is there a companion
insight to round things out? I suggest there is. The Greeks in this
curious story come to see and believe in Jesus by first looking to people
like them. So can we. It is by looking to the people around us, people who
are just like us, seeing their faith, taking note of their commitment to
serving Christ, that we too have the opportunity to meet, greet, and
believe in Jesus the Christ.
season 2012 coincides with the conclusion of my ministry in your midst as
your pastor. As we celebrate this Easter together I will be
especially attentive to the experience of continually finding Jesus alive
and well and in person, in you the people of St. James. Jesus may be seen
in your faith, in your commitment to the Gospel, in your dedication to the
work of his church. My own belief in Jesus the Christ is all the stronger
having witnessed him in this community of faith these past many years.
is alive. Christ lives in us, and we live in Christ.
Rev. Canon Rod Gillis Holy Week & Easter 2012