“Sir, We Would See Jesus”

THE TWELFTH CHAPTER of John’s Gospel brings us to the final week of our Lord’s earthly life. His teaching and miracles of the previous three and one-half years had given him some popularity among the people; and the stupendous miracle of the raising of Lazarus had still further increased the favorable sentiments of the people toward him, causing the Pharisees to say among themselves, “Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? Behold the world is gone after him.”—John 12:19

This popularity caused some of the Greek proselytes, or, as some think, Greek-speaking Jews, who had come to Jerusalem to the Passover feast, to make a request of Philip: “Sir, we would see Jesus.” (John 12:21) Philip tells Andrew of this request, and together they approach Jesus concerning the matter. To this our Lord makes a somewhat unusual reply saying, “The hour is come, that the Son of Man should be glorified.”

Perhaps we may see in this statement an intimation on our Lord’s part of the privilege of approaching him during the time of the kingdom, when people will come from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of the greater than Solomon. “Before him shall be gathered all nations.” (Matt. 25:32) This desire on the part of these Greeks must sooner or later be the desire of every human being: ‘We would see Jesus’. Jesus means ‘Savior’—the one appointed to save men from sin and death.

During the nineteen centuries of this Gospel Age, few have seen Jesus in the true sense. Some think they have seen Jesus, but have only known him after the flesh, as a great moral leader and teacher, a particularly bright specimen of the human race, and a noble pattern to copy. Others, belonging to orthodox Christian communities, see Jesus as God, who came to earth to show men how to suffer and die—the second person of a so-called Trinity, not taught in the Scriptures.

If it is so important to see Jesus as man’s savior, why have so few up to the present time been thus privileged? Paul tells us that this is largely the result of the influence of Satan. He says, “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (II Cor. 4:4) In John 12:40 we read, “He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.”

This blindness and hardness of heart affects the majority of mankind. Hence, we may say that there are two principal reasons why so few up to the present have seen Jesus and the blessings that center in him: (1) Blindness and hardness of heart—lack of desire; (2) The fact that God’s time has not yet come to remove these impediments.

The fact that some have had their eyes opened to see Jesus, and others have not, may be explained by the fact that God’s providences have such a different effect upon some from what they have upon others. This can be illustrated by the difference in the effect of the heat of the sun upon clay and upon wax—the former is hardened, the latter, softened. If then we would be of the class who rightly respond to God’s providences, and are ready for the eyes of our understanding to be opened, in what sense is it necessary for us to see Jesus?

Some see him first as a great Prophet, Teacher, the Channel of the wisdom that comes down from above, “Who of God is made unto us wisdom.” (I Cor. 1:30) “Never man spake like this man.” (John 7:46) No teaching can compare with that of the Lord Jesus as found in the four Gospels. Literature of every kind is more or less permeated with what he said and did, as well as influenced by his spirit. Eliminate this from the world’s books, and the residue would be very cold, empty, lifeless.

Further, we must see Jesus as our high Priest, whose precious sacrifice is a ransom price to release us from death. Hence we see Jesus as our justifier, our righteousness; the one to whom we can continually come for forgiveness; our advocate, who ever liveth to interpose on our behalf, that is, to come to our succor, our assistance in every time of need.—Heb. 7:25

We see Jesus, too, as our High Priest, offering up the members of his ‘body’—the church (Col. 1:18), as a part of his own sacrifice. This was pictured on the typical Day of Atonement, when the goat was offered by the High Priest, following the sacrifice of the bullock. (Lev. 16:3,7,9,15; Heb. 13:11-13) Again, he is the giver of the Holy Spirit, one of the principal agencies in our sanctification.—Acts 2:33; Matt. 3:11; John 1:31

Finally, we see Jesus as our King, our Deliverer—the One who leads his own to victory. “Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Cor. 15:57) In Revelation 19:11, John is given a vision of Jesus as King, riding on a white horse, and those who have followed him, on white horses. John sees him gaining victories over all his enemies, smiting the nations with his truth, bringing them under the iron rule of his kingdom, “for he must reign until he hath put all enemies under his feet.” (I Cor. 15:25) So we look by faith to our Lord to give us the victory day by day, until the final one—deliverance in the first resurrection.

Having seen Jesus as our Prophet, Priest, and King, let us never forget that he is also our great Exemplar. By seeing the perfections of his character we see the glory of the Lord, Jehovah, the Father, revealed in him. As we endeavor to copy him we are transformed into the same image, from glory to glory. (II Cor. 3:18) To such as become like him in character is promised the great reward of being made like him in nature—partakers of the Divine nature. (II Pet. 1:4; I John 3:2) May the good work of transformation, both of nature and character, go forward.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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