Where Jesus Christ Has a Real Work To Do There Has To Be A Death
In John Chapter 12 and at verse 12, we come to that point where Jesus Christ rides into Jerusalem, and it is now clear to some that Jesus has not got long to live if he remains in that city.
The scene is one of where the scheme has begun to go into motion to have Jesus Christ, the Son of God, crucified, killed and silenced, once and for all. It has been rumbling on now for some months, and we see this so clearly as John records the details.
When God begins to speak in a new way, there are always those whose only desire is to silence the voice of God. Sometimes people are successful, for a season, until God in His goodness and mercy and persistence, sends someone else along who will speak for him with a stronger and louder and more penetrating voice.
When God chooses to speak He will say what He wants to say, and what He wants said will be said, and after it is said, it can go quiet again, but not until.
There are all kinds of ways of silencing the voice of God. There is one very obvious way – crucifixion – but today, we see another way.
Some Greeks come up to Jerusalem, and they want to see Jesus. They tell Philip, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus”. Philip tells Andrew and Andrew and Philip go and tell Jesus.
Now, there are many churches and mission halls with this text up on the wall – “Sir, we would see Jesus”, and yet, Jesus sees this particular request as a type of temptation to go another way – to take another road, other than the Father wanted him to take.
This request came from some Greeks who lived in the area called the Decapolis. It was an area or region of ten Greek Communities in Israel – a remnant of the days of Alexander the Great. Jesus had already been there.
Jesus had cured a demon-possessed man there, and set him free and released him from bondage. Jesus had fed four thousand people there, and, it is as if these Greeks are saying to Jesus – “Jesus, your people don’t really appreciate you. Come and see us. Come and have a look at our area and consider us”.
Jesus knew that His own people did not really appreciate him, but that would not make him move on, and what Jesus basically goes on to say here is, “There is no use coming to you until I have died first”.
My hour has come. I must stay here in Jerusalem and die. There is death involved in the work the Father has sent me to do, and normally, wherever Jesus Christ has a real work to do, there has to be a death. We have to die to self. We have to die to reputation or ambition. We have to allow our hopes and dreams to die, so that we might be in accord with his will.
We have to take up our cross – whatever that might mean for us – and follow Jesus Christ – giving him all the honour and praise and glory, if he should choose to accomplish anything through our ministries.
Jesus never granted these men their request. Sometimes Jesus Christ says “NO”. Sometimes God the Father says “NO”, and that can be a shock to people who expect Almighty God to be saying “YES” to their prayers all the time.
Sometimes, we too, as disciples of Jesus, have to say “NO” to people. No, I am not doing that. No I cannot go there. No, I cannot be part of that. No, if that is what you want to do, then you will have to do it without me, and without my support or encouragement. No, I cannot agree with you in that, and sometimes we might even have to go further and say, “If that is what you are planning to do or say, then I must warn you that there is the possibility that you are moving out of the Will of God.
But, we always say “YES” to God.
Jesus is saying – before I go to the Greeks – before I go to the Gentiles – I am going to the cross. I have to die. The hour is approaching. The road My Father has willed me to walk is the road of personal sacrifice. If I came to you Greeks now, that would be a short term policy. How does all this apply practically to you and me, because this is paramount?
This is not theory. This is for life – real life.
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