A Curious Incident
Originally scheduled for January 17
John 12:20-23 NAS77 Now
there were certain Greeks among those who were going up to worship
at the feast; (21)
these therefore came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of
Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."
(22) Philip *came
and *told Andrew; Andrew and Philip *came, and they *told Jesus.
(23) And Jesus
*answered them, saying, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be
This is one of the most curious incidents in
the Bible. We may begin by looking at the Greeks in question; the
original language tells us something about them.
They are Gentiles, who are not circumcised. They came to worship at
Passover, so they are God-fearing people. They would not be allowed
to go into the courts of the temple. Jesus would’ve been speaking in
the Court of Women, so as to be able to speak to all Jews, male and
female. These men approached but could not enter that area.
There is no thought here that these people view religion as a
“what” but rather as a “who.” They start with Philip, who has a
Greek name, in the hopes of getting closer.
Interestingly, their approach to the Christ is that of “a friend of
a friend.” This is person-to-person religion.
to get Andrew (also a Greek name) and the two of them approached
Jesus together. Jesus then gives one of those answers that utterly
mystifies people. You have to remember that he’s answering the
question the Greeks should have asked, not the one they did ask
(whatever that was.)
He tells them they’ve arrived at just the right time. The hour has
arrived. It’s interesting to note that until this time Jesus has no
interest in the Gentiles. But now, just before the crucifixion, he
Indeed, this is a sign of how the church will reach to the world —
the Herald of a new age, characterized by “whosoever will.”
And what we
may ask is this great hour? It is the hour of the sacrifice of
Christ, when he became our atonement. Here then is the significance.
His sacrifice is open to one and all — Jews and Greeks. This is a
thought that would’ve been seen as foolishness by his Jewish
followers. It is foolishness — God’s foolishness, which is greater
than the wisdom of man.
In this sacrifice he is glorified by God the father, and is honored
by all who believe.
The life of
Christians sacrifice starts with His sacrifice — and continues with
our own. That sacrifice is what we remember at communion. It is not
only a reminder of the price he paid for our redemption; it is also
an example held up for each and every Christian. Your Lord and
Savior, out of his great love for you, sacrificed himself to the
point of death. As you partake of communion this morning, ask
yourself: am I following that great example? Is my life one of