Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Show is Shutting Down

“Look, the world has gone after Him.”


The offenses against Jesus were mounting. He had raised his friend Lazarus from the dead. Then he had the audacity to climb on a colt and ride it through Jerusalem while a large crowd and his disciples praised him like a god. His popularity was going to be the death of him.

A group of Greeks had come into town for the feast and had heard of Jesus. They found one of his disciples named Philip and asked if they could see Jesus. So Philip told Andrew and the two of them went and delivered the message to Jesus. But the traveling show was coming to an end and Jesus did not respond to the request. Instead he said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. Now my soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, Father, save Me from this hour? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father glorify Your name.”

Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”

Some of the people in the crowd thought they’d heard thunder while others had thought an angel had spoken to Jesus.

Jesus told them, “This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes. Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from this earth, will draw all men to Myself.” But he was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die.

There is a tendency in a mob to feel as if the spectacle belongs to them. They have gathered for the show. So dim the lights, pull back the curtain and entertain us. Once a teenager walked up to my husband following a service and said, "Where is the show? I don't get it." Centuries later people still gather and expect to be entertained.

The crowd had shown their affection for Christ so it was reasonable to them that they could summon him and ask him for Act Two. But he was not an entertainment act or even a rabble rouser as some had hoped. It was in this dialogue that Jesus once again was predicting his own death. But in this statement is more than a martyr’s final speech. He is using lofty language—the power to draw all people to himself is not the act of an earthly prophet; or the power to cast out “the ruler of this world—Satan”. Nor is the power to summon God the Father and then get a response from above the act of a mortal who is good with magic tricks. Jesus was not only identifying himself as the Messiah, but he was being identified by God—out loud.

It was right after this that Jesus went away and hid himself from them. In spite of his teaching authority and miracle working power, they still did not believe that he was God come to earth. But even in that disappointment he was fulfilling prophecy. He could not help himself.

A Meditation: Think about what Christ has done for you recently. Take a prayer walk and pray in a spirit of gratitude for the simplicity of the miracles in your life alone. Then open your eyes and "see" where God has placed you. Why did he do that?