They wanted to see Jesus . . . and they would . . . but not in the manner they had expected. They were outsiders by birth but had been drawn to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And so, these Gentiles “went up to worship at the feast” (John 12:20). As they approached Jerusalem, they saw the crowd . . . and they caught a glimpse of the Man on the donkey’s colt in the midst of the crowd. And they heard the noise . . . the cries of exaltation . . . “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” And so, they wanted to see Jesus.
Not exactly sure why they approached Philip . . . some think it was because he had a Greek name, . . . but it was to Philip that these God-fearing, truth-seeking, Gentiles went. “Sir, we wish to see Jesus” (12:21).
If half of what they heard concerning the Carpenter from Nazareth was true, they wanted to meet Him. If but a portion of the signs and wonders reported to have been done by Him were accurate, surely He was someone they wanted to check out. Whatever it was that moved the crowd to exalt Him as Israel’s King was worth investigating. So, given that He and they were in the city at the same time, they wanted to see Jesus.
And while Jesus does not consent to give them the audience they requested, He does promise that they would see Him.
And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. . . . Now is My soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.” . . . And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself.” He said this to show by what kind of death He was going to die. (John 12:23-24, 27-28, 32-33 ESV)
Not what they expected . . . but soon they would see Jesus. He would be lifted up before them . . . a grain of wheat about to be offered to the earth. They would behold the King of Israel . . . not on a throne, but on a cross. Though the image horrific, they would not be able to turn their eyes from Him.
They would hear His cry of separation, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” They would hear His intercessory plea from the cruel tree of crucifixion, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” They would hear what sounded like a declaration of triumph with His last breath, “It is finished!” They would see Jesus . . . lifted up on a tree . . . and they would be drawn to Him . . . and they would know – though didn’t know exactly how they knew – but they would know within themselves that “truly, this man was the Son of God!”
Sir, we would see Jesus! Then cast your eye on the ransom sent for all men . . . behold the Lamb of God come to take away the sin of the world . . . fix your eyes upon the Great Shepherd who gave His life for the sheep. Know that the work is finished . . . that He is risen . . . see Jesus . . . and be drawn to Him.
Drawn by sacrificial love . . . drawn by amazing grace . . . drawn for His glory.
Thank You, Lord!