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Communion Meditations (2016)

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 glorified.

 

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.

Philip went 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 welcomes them.

·         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 Christians sacrifice?

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