It happens at all really big events. Crowds start to gather during the days ahead. People have been looking forward to this for a long time. Strangers greet each other and pick up on the gossip. What is different this year? How far have you come? Some in jokes get passed around. People start to get pointed out. Some love to boast about who they know and what they have seen. Arguments break out and people take sides.
This Passover was getting particularly heated. For once Galileans were the new story and you could tell them because their accent was definitely northern and not like people from Judah and Jerusalem. It all centred around Jesus and he had really stirred up trouble by first raising a man from Bethany from the dead and then he rode into Jerusalem as bold as brass, on a donkey with crowds of people waving branches and calling him King of Israel. John 12.13 The Passover crowd was always an international crowd and those who came from further away countries spoke Greek. The Romans might be the current Empire but it was the Greeks before them and their influence was still widespread. No wonder then that some Greeks wanted to find out more and meet Jesus. John 12.20 They worked out that Philip was one of Jesus closest followers and approached him for an introduction. Philip had been a close friend of Andrew (Peter’s brother) from childhood so they both asked Jesus if he would meet up with the interested Greeks.
Jesus response was to go into some depth about his impending crucifixion (more about this tomorrow) and that it was the nature of his death that would attract people. However, Jesus made clear that he will draw all people to himself. John 12.32 Andrew and Philip were intermediaries between the seeking Greeks and Jesus. I wonder how many of us have had that privilege? The “Greeks” are all people whatever background or circumstances who want to know Jesus. Is it not true that such seekers do not exist, there are many who would love to be introduced to Jesus and understand who he is. I was thinking back over my lifetime to name to myself the people to whom I have been an Andrew or Philip. In the end it is Jesus who draws people to himself but we can be one of those who they speak to on the way.
Are we aware of the opportunities to invite people to engage with Jesus?
Do people know we already know him?
Do we expect God to use us in this way?
Do we ask God for the chance to introduce people to Jesus?
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus (Lyrics)