This event took place on the Tuesday of Passion Week. It reveals the heart of the gospel, the heart of God in His Son as He looked toward Friday and the inevitability of the cross.
John tells us this story that none of the other gospel writers record. It is the story of some Greeks who had converted to Judaism and had come to Jerusalem to worship during the Feast. I imagine a group of young successful businessmen who heard about this powerful teacher who was also doing many miraculous healings. Being curious and probably feeling they should be acknowledged, they asked to "see Jesus". I'm sure they thought meeting Him might enhance their careers. His response is so "Jesus-like". Most men today would be flattered to hear that someone had asked to meet them, welcoming the chance to make a connection or network with a potential follower (read "supporter"). But not our Lord. He doesn't really even answer Andrew and Philip who had come to Him on behalf of the men. Instead, He begins to talk about the upcoming crucifixion. But not very specifically, rather just about the principle of life coming from death.
"Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life."
Not what you would expect from an influential, highly visible leader seeking to build his following. But that was not His goal. He wasn't ever interested in just gathering a crowd. He had come for those who had ears to hear, hearts to receive...yes and eyes to see. But the time of speaking to the masses was now over. Now the only "seeing of Jesus" would be what they would see on the following Friday as He was paraded before them half dead from being beaten, nearly naked, humiliated and bleeding with thorns pushed into His head and scalp, staggering under the weight of a cross that He was about to be nailed to...a cross that would provide salvation for all who would truly "see". He was answering them, but not how they expected. He was saying, "You will see me, but not how you anticipated. On that day, I hope you will see me!"
Men come to Jesus today, to "see Him" for all different reasons. Only God knows the real motives of men's hearts. Ultimately it doesn't matter why we've come to Him, it only matters that we've come. But what follows is of great importance. Having come, will we see Him? Will we understand His heart, His ways, His purposes that are eternal, or will our eyes and hearts be closed to Him, offended by the cross and its shame?
We are in need today of a redefining of what life is. Our society has believed a great lie, that this life is found in the abundance of possessions, experiences, and successes that bring us self-fulfillment. But it is not. Jesus said that the way to finding fulfillment in this life was the same as for Him. A man seeking what is best only for himself does not find true life. It is found in giving up all for the sake of another. True life comes through a death, death to the lie of self-promotion, gratification and ultimately self-preservation. In God, it is only through death that we find life. Pray that we may have eyes to “see” this truth in Him.
Lord Jesus, you were not interested in fame or power, only in obedience to your Father's will. May it be so with me Lord. I embrace again today your cross as it confronts my self-life. Give me grace to stay there, in that place of submission to you and your will for my life. Amen