Philip scanned the crowd at the temple. He’d never been to Jerusalem except for feasts. It was hard to imagine the place nearly empty. He spun around at the tap on his shoulder.
A group of foreigners stared at him.
The man closest to him held his hand up. “Beg your pardon, sir. I didn’t mean to startle you.”
Philip swallowed. “That’s alright. I was lost in my thoughts. Can I help you with something?”
The man lowered his hand. “Yes, we noticed you’re a follower of Jesus. We’d like some time with Him. We have some questions we hope He can answer.”
Philip grabbed Andrew’s sleeve as he walked past. “These men want to see Jesus. Do you think He’ll take time for them?”
Andrew glanced at the men. “As long as they aren’t selling anything in the temple I think they’ll be safe. All we can do is ask.”
Philip and Andrew led the men to Jesus.
Philip stepped to the side. “These Greeks have some questions for You.”
Jesus looked at them. “The Son of Man will soon be glorified. When a grain of wheat falls in the ground it reproduces only after it dies. Then it produces many more grains of wheat. If you love your life now you will lose it, but if you hate your life here you’ll gain it in the next life. My soul is distressed, but I will not succumb so the Father will be glorified. Father glorify Your name.”
A voice sounded from heaven. “I have glorified it and will again.”
Some of the men spun around. “Was that thunder?”
“I think an angel spoke to Him.”
Jesus smiled. “That voice wasn’t for me, but you. Judgement has come for the ruler of this world. If I am lifted up I’ll draw all men to Me.”
The first man stepped forward. “We read in your law that the Christ lives forever. Who is this Son of Man You speak about being lifted up?”
Jesus nodded slowly. “Walk while the light is with you. Anyone who walks in darkness is soon lost.”
When the men huddled together Jesus walked away.
When they turned to ask more questions they found only the crowd.
Jesus stopped near the exit of the temple. “He who believes in Me and sees believes and sees Him who sent Me. You won’t abide in darkness if you follow My light. I don’t judge those who hear and refuse to believe. I came to save, not judge. My words will judge those who reject Me and what I say. I only speak what the Father tells Me to say. That is the only means of eternal life.”
Jesus turned and led His disciples to the Garden.
The first time I read this passage I had one question. “What just happened here?”
Some Greek guys come to Jesus to ask some questions and He goes off an a seeming tangent about wheat and light and losing a life to find it. Huh?
Why didn’t Jesus just answer the questions they had? Why run around in riddles like this?
After many years to think about this event, and with the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit, John figured it out and added some quick commentary in the middle of this episode. The prophet Isaiah had a problem getting people to believe what he was warning them about. John references a couple of verses to show the similarities with these Greeks.
Jesus knew these guys weren’t interested in discovering the truth. They just wanted to debate thoughts not change their hearts.
Two centuries later these responses of Jesus make for some great sound bites for us to memorize and, with the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit, help us make sense of this new spiritual life we gained by believing the things Jesus said and lived out.
Jesus knew He was living in His last days before His crucifixion. A heated debate wasn’t going to change these guys. A prediction about how He was going to die might get their attention. If they were paying attention.
[Tweet “Few people will be debated into heaven.”]
A word of advice here. Don’t use this passage to try to lead someone to Christ. It’ll only confuse them not convince them.
Jesus had performed a great deal of miracles before this day. They had those to think about as to who Jesus was.
Many people believed Jesus was the Messiah. Others refused to believe. Some believed and kept their beliefs a secret so they wouldn’t be excluded from the cliques they were in.
It’s not our role to judge anyone for what they believe. Jesus even refused to judge at that time. He said His words would perform that role in time.
Our role is to live out Jesus’s example of unconditional love as best we can.
Tolerating sin as anything less than sin isn’t our role either. People need to know God sees the sin for what it is. If it offends them it offends them. Better they know their behavior is inconsistent with God’s morals than for them to discover too late where they’re going to spend their eternal destiny.
Accept the fact not everyone will accept Jesus for who He is: the Savior of the world.
Most people will choose the wide path to destruction so they fit in before squeezing through that narrow gate Jesus demands us to enter by.
We don’t know who will accept Jesus’s offer of salvation before they die, so treat everyone as though they will.
It isn’t our role to decide who will go to heaven. Jesus will separate the sheep from the goats in His time.
Follow Jesus’s example. Few people will be debated into heaven.
People at the end of themselves are the most likely candidates to listen to Jesus’s offer of living in His light.
That narrow gate looks more inviting when you can see the destruction first-hand.
Jesus’s load is easy and the burden is light.
Don’t crush someone with judgment.
I’ll see you later. Wade