Skip to main content

John 12:20-27 “We wish to see Jesus” by Isaiah Thomas

 My wife and I finished watching “The Crown” earlier this year. For those who may not be familiar, “The Crown” is a show about the life of the Royal Family in the United Kingdom, and it lived up to the hype (in my opinion). There is one episode in particular that stuck with me. In Season 3, there is an episode that tells the story of Prince Philip essentially having somewhat of a midlife existential crisis around the same time that the crew of Apollo 11 flew to the moon and back. Seeking inspiration, Prince Philip (who loved to fly), wished  men with the hope that what they had seen would spark some kind of fire within him or rekindle some sense of purpose in this world. I will spare you the details of the conversation, but let’s just say they were kind of a let down.

I imagine that what Prince Philip was seeking is something along the lines of what these Greeks were seeking when they said to Philip, the disciple, that they wished to see Jesus. Now, Jesus could have said literally anything once these people met Him, and I think we ought to pay close attention to what He chose to say. Recognizing that His time to die was drawing near, Jesus drops this bomb, “whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” I am not sure what these Greeks expected, but I doubt it was something like that. Prior to this statement, Jesus begins by saying it is His time to be glorified, so whatever He followed that up with would in some way describe what it means for Him, the Son of Man (read: Messiah), to be glorified. And how does He describe it? In death. What a strange way to go about being glorified. In our world, I think we more naturally equate death with loss. In fact, in many ways, a lot of our world attempts to avoid death. We stock up on food, we obsess over maintaining a youthful appearance, and we want to learn how to live longer and happier. If we aren’t willing to die, we may never experience life eternal. What is He saying? I believe that Jesus here is talking about dying to self. Take for example His seed metaphor. A seed has the potential to turn into a giant, flowering, and even fruit bearing plant. That is it’s potential. However, that will never happen, as Jesus says, unless it falls to ground to die. If it does though, it will bear fruit - fruit that can sustain other life. Jesus is describing the kind of death that He died on Good Friday. His death (and Resurrection) paved the way for our justification and sanctification. His death paved the way for our eternal life with Him. We are told that He says in the Garden of Gethsemane as He prayed to the Father, “Yet not my will, but yours.” He died to His will, so that He might obey the Father and lead us to a life with Him in Glory.

This is the kind of death Jesus invites us to everyday. This is a death that cultivates life. When we are willing to die to serving ourselves, not only do we appropriately mimic the life of Jesus, but we also give ourselves the chance to bring life to those around us. When we consider the interests of others ahead of our own, we extend the same love to them that Christ extends to us. When we are willing to die to our desires, we acknowledge that we are not the givers of life, but there is One greater than us who is, and we trust in Him. Knowing that there is eternal life waiting for us makes the pain of dying to our own desires purposeful. This is not some empty performative act, this is submission to the reality that Jesus conquers death by His own death. Just as He is raised, so will we be raised with Him. If you wish to see Jesus, you must join Him at the Cross.


Popular posts from this blog

"Racism is sin. Let's treat it that way." by Sam Vaughn

Racism is sin . People are sinners. I am a person. I am a sinner. I am stained by the sin of racism. I commit the sin of racism. I omit the righteous deeds that undo and push back the sin of racism. I have stayed silent when it benefited me, rather than speaking when it would have benefited my brothers and sisters of color. I have defaulted to judgment rather than sorrow, when an unarmed Black person is shot to death. I remember when Michael Brown was shot and killed, watching the news coverage, the first thing I focused on was what he ‘must have done to cause it.’ I sought for a flaw in Michael Brown’s character as if that should be worthy of death. I engaged with other nationally covered events in a similar way. Embracing a narrative that made me comfortable was functionally more important to me than the God-given lives of image bearers like Eric Garner and Tamir Rice. I have been indifferent, and uncaring. Over the past year I have ignored the increase in violent hate crimes agains

The ARC of Racial Justice - a Reflection and Exhortation from Pastor Matt Lorish

Here we are again. The video footage of Ahmaud Arbery is all over social media. It is a time for lament and a time for righteous anger. I write this blog post as a continuation to the initial posts offered by Northside Church members. My aim in this post is to help my fellow white brothers and sisters think about where we go from here. At the close of Jemar Tisby’s book, The Color of Compromise , he introduces a framework that he calls the A.R.C. of racial justice. Using Jemar’s framework, I’d like to humbly offer some application points that I think are important for me and my fellow white sisters and brothers at Northside Church to move towards. I also write this as a Christian pastor. Christians of all ethnicities are Bible people. The end-game for us isn’t just racial justice. The end-game for us is conformity to Jesus and honoring Him. Racial injustice is one of the areas in which we need God’s Spirit to change us, grow us and conform us (Rom 12:2, 2 Cor 3:18). My prayer is

Manna for the Moment

At Northside Church of Richmond, we desire earnestly to be joyful worshipers, nurturing family, and engaged neighbors always, and we are seeking ways to spur us on towards those things creatively right now. One way we're trying is by creating a space where we can interact and be nourished, encouraged, and connected to one another to keep pointing each other to God's Truths to steady us, to shape us, and to send us out in His ways. Be on the lookout for devotional writings with meditations on God's Word, videos of encouragement, and other creative offerings from our church body. Reach out to Adrianne Thompson with questions or comments: