"THINKING OF DEATH"
John 12:20-21 - Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip ... and asked him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."
It seems like a strange disconnect. Some foreigners from Greece ask to meet Jesus, and Jesus immediately starts talking about dying. After several minutes of increasingly scary talk, Jesus "departed and hid Himself from them" (John 12:36). It looks like the Greeks missed their chance—Jesus didn't even answer their request!
Or did He?
Something about the Greeks touched off these words: "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" (John 12:23-24). The Greeks were foreigners—non-Jews. They were not the first foreigners Jesus ever met, but they were apparently the first who actively sought Him out with the goal of hearing Him and possibly coming to faith in Him. They were, in fact, the first tiny trickle of the great wave of Gentile converts who would begin to come into the Christian faith, several years later.
The tide was turning. Jesus had said: "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matthew 15:24). But now other sheep were starting to come to Him: the rest of the human family. It was time for Jesus' church to take over and to "make disciples of all nations," as He would command them after His resurrection (Matthew 28:19). No wonder His thoughts turned to His death!
We don't know what happened to these Greeks after Jesus left and hid Himself. Possibly they had to make do with the disciples to answer their questions. And that's okay. Because that's exactly what God does with us today, whether Jew or Gentile. We learn about Jesus through the Holy Spirit, speaking through Jesus' followers. And that continues until the day we do indeed meet Jesus Himself, face to face.
THE PRAYER: Dear God, make me a good witness to Jesus my Savior. Amen.
What are the signs you see that tell you that summer is almost over?
When you think about your own death or that of someone you love, how do you lean on God for help?
How did you come to know Jesus your Savior? Which of His followers helped you in this?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Today's Bible Readings: Numbers 5-6 Mark 13:1-20
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