"Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”"
That's an interesting beginning. the word about Jesus and his "signs" - like raising Lazarus from the dead! - had gotten him some attention and people from all over wanted to "see" him. And of course, with the gospel of John that is more than meets the eye - seeing Jesus. In fact at the beginning of the gospel of John
. 38When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39He said to them, “Come and see.”
And I sit and ponder "seeing Jesus." These are the last public words of Jesus in the gospel of John as he talks about a grain of wheat that dies, a troubled soul and :
And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.
To see Jesus is to see beyond the signs of power and miracles to the one who sent him and it is to see the what someone called the "theological trajectory" from death of life. And in our faith it is easy to concentrate only on the healings, the miracles, the teachings and quickly pass over the cross at the very center. Jesus demonstrates God's strength through his humility and vulnerability and willingness to pick up the cross. The hope of our faith is only realized because of the cross. And then I wonder if these who wished to see Jesus - saw him as he hung on the cross. Was that the Jesus they came to see?
And so this morning I find myself thinking about seeing Jesus. Understanding that to follow Jesus is to embark on a journey of continually seeing more - not having spiritual visions but spiritual vision. Joan Chittister writes this in her book Illuminated Life
"Vision is not physical. It is a quality of the soul.
People with vision hone in, laser-like, to the presence of God in life.
They see the holy, bleeding, suffering, feuding world as God sees the world: as one and as sacred.
In love with a loving God, they are impelled to love God's world as God does.
They set out to love it as God loves it.
They see God everywhere and in everything.
They stretch beyond the demands of the personal, the chauvinistic, the nationalistic, the sectarian, even the doctrinal, to the will of God for the entire world.
They are not trapped by the pitiful little agendas of color or gender or hierarchy or place. ....
they immerse themselves in the presence of God until everything becomes for them the presence of God."
Here are the lyrics to a song I like to sing:
OPEN MY EYES LORD I WANT TO SEE JESUS
TO REACH OUT AND TOUCH HIM AND SAY THAT I LOVE HIM
OPEN MY EARS LORD AND HELP ME TO LISTEN
OPEN MY EYES LORD I WANT TO SEE JESUS.