“Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” John 12:20-21
On this Tuesday of Holy Week, the gospel lesson appointed for today gives the account of a small group of non-Jews (specifically Greeks) coming to Jesus’ disciples and asking to see Jesus. Jesus and his disciples had just been welcomed by crowds as they entered the city of Jerusalem for the Passover Festival. We don’t know the motivation of these Greeks for wanting to see Jesus, perhaps out of curiosity to listen to the one known as a great teacher and to see the one who had raised someone (Lazarus) from the dead. Or was their desire to see Jesus due to their yet unspoken hope of becoming one of his followers? Whatever their motivation, their presence relates to Jesus’ later statement in v. 32, “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself.” The coming of the Greeks symbolizes the drawing of all people to Jesus – that all people will be drawn to him, and prefigures the church’s future mission to the Gentiles (non-Jews). The arrival of Greeks to see Jesus signaled that His hour had come, and His mission would soon completed on the cross.
The Church’s mission is to respond to the request, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” How do we go about helping “seekers” who come to us wanting to know Jesus Christ? The best answer for that question is to recall what draws you to worship on any given Sunday. Most people will answer “Because God has drawn me to this place and to this community”. Share your experience of coming to know Jesus through the Body of Christ, the Church. Wherever you are, listen for the desire to see Jesus. Invite those who are curious or seeking a deeper relationship with God to come to church with you. Like the annual Passover Festival in Jerusalem, Easter Sunday has the power draw and convene visitors to St. Alban’s, perhaps lapsed Christians or “unchurched” people, who may be curious about what holds this community together, what we believe and experience in the sharing of bread and wine, and what we proclaim about Jesus in the lessons, sermons, hymns, prayers and behavior of our parish. What will they know about Jesus when they leave? According to the Catechism of the Episcopal Church, “The mission of the Church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.” This is the work of all ministers: lay persons, bishops, priests and deacons. It is the ministry of all of us to reveal the presence of Jesus Christ in our lives to those who come, asking to see Jesus. Welcome those who sit near you, assist them with the Book of Common Prayer and Hymnal, and then look them in the eyes, and say, “May the peace of Christ be with you”.
Reverend Flett, thank you for this message. It’s full of thought, research and the inspiration we need. I read and enjoy all of St. Albans’s daily emails and receive a lot of guidance and enjoyment from them and every day send up a thank-you to each one of you. Just a suggestion, however — with this new blog format, could something be done to make it as beautiful as the old format was? The coffee mug is ………disenchanting!
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