SECOND BAPTIST CHURCH OF LOS ANGELES
Inspirational messages for Sunday August 2 through Saturday August 8, 2020.
WE WISH TO SEE JESUS
20And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: 21The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. 22Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. 23And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. 25He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 26If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. 27Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. 28Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. 29The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. 30Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. 31Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 33 This he said, signifying what death he should die. John 12:20-3
Sunday August 2, 2020
Behind the pulpit in the chapel at Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, GA, there is a small sign. It is a brass plate with an inscription, quoting the New Testament lesson for today.“Sir, we would see Jesus.” (John 12:20-33). The reason someone put that sign behind the pulpit in the first place is to encourage the new preachers being trained at the seminary not to proclaim themselves, but to proclaim Jesus Christ.
Also the Concord Baptist Church in Brooklyn where Dr. Gardner Taylor was the pastor for 42 years there was a small sign on a brass plate with the inscription, "Sir, we would see Jesus." Dr. Taylor wanted everyone to know including himself that when you are at that sacred desk people want to see Jesus. You are not there to represent yourself but to portray and present Christ to people.
The responsibility of every believer in Christ is to help people see Jesus more clearly, in the hopes that they will be willing to follow him more nearly and above all love him more dearly. That is why I always say let these your gathered people see more of thee and less of me. Paul in Galatians 4:19 says "My little children, for whom I am again in the pain of childbirth until Christ is formed in you."
“Sir, we would see Jesus,” is a question that in John’s Gospel means more than simply catching a glimpse of a celebrity who is performing miracles. It means that you really want to get to know and believe in Jesus. One of the dynamics of John is that “to see” is more than simply to see something with your eyes. For John, “to see” is “to believe,” because you embrace with your mind and perceive with your heart and soul the essence of the one you see.
Consider what it takes for you to be convicted, convinced and converted to believe in Jesus Christ.
Monday August 3, 2020
20"And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: 21The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. 22Philip comes and tells Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus." John 12:20-21
We see this early on in the first chapter of John. Jesus is gathering his disciples and one of them is Philip. In chapter one, Jesus calls Philip, and Philip goes to find his friend, Nathanael. He tells Nathanael, "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote-- Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." (John 1:45) Nathanael is not impressed. "Nazareth! "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" (John 1:46) Nathanael asked. Philip doesn’t argue. He simply says "Come and see."
In the Gospel of John, “seeing” means more than simply looking at something. While John uses the word to see sometimes to denote ordinary seeing, here he uses it to indicate accepting, affirming, believing and embracing.
Consider what it means for you to accept, affirm, believe and embrace Jesus for who he is.
Tuesday August 4, 2020
20And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: 21The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. 22Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. John 20-22
There were those who were of Greek origin who came to the feast of the Passover of Unleavened Bread to worship. That would suggest that they too believed in the tradition of commemorating the Passover which was observed in perpetuity as directed in Exodus 12:1-1-20. "They came to worship at the feast." They were persons of faith who apparently had some exposure to the tradition of Passover and Unleavened Bread. We are not told about how they were exposed to this commemoration of worship. All we know is that they were there to worship at the feast. Whatever they knew or had heard about the feast attracted them. It is also apparent that they had heard about Jesus. What and how they heard about Jesus we are not told. We only know two things about these persons: one is they came to worship at the feast and two they wanted to see Jesus. This lead us to conclude they had heard how Jesus and the feast were connected in some way. It seems as though they were familiar with the feast. Now the added dimension of the commemoration is what they had heard about Jesus.
Faith traditions are not just static historical commemorations. There is a continuing relevance that is perpetuated through the lives of individuals who fulfill the promise of the life giving purpose the commemoration has provided. The feast is a reminder of something that has happened that preserves your life providentially with a purpose that is perpetuated through you and beyond you to others after you.
Consider what commemorative occasions of your faith remind you that you have providentially been prepared, preserved and purposed to perpetuate through your life what attracts and inspires others in their lives.
Wednesday August 5, 2020
21The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. 22Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus." John 12:21-22
They must have wondered if Jesus fulfilled the promise that was part of the faith tradition that commemorated what the Lord had done and what the Lord had promised to do. They probably wanted to hear from Jesus himself. To obtain what they sought they wanted to have a private, up close and personal connection with Jesus. Also, they could have realized that Philip had a Greek name as did Andrew. John shares that Philip was from Bethsaida in Galilee. The presumption is that Philip and Andrew would be amenable to help them.
Those who were there went to the right person to make their request known. It seems logical to presume that those who wanted to see Jesus inquired who they could ask to have an audience with him. Notice they went to Philip. Even though we are not told how they chose Philip, it is interesting that Philip had a Greek name as did Andrew. The Greeks went to the one whose name suggested that he would be approachable and possibly identify their common origin.
You have to discern who is approachable to assist you with your request about Jesus. Those with a common origin may have a similar experience which predisposes them to being more agreeable to helping you. You have to go to the right source to get the possibility of an authentic opportunity to have your curiosity satisfied about the promise your faith inspires.
The Judeo-Christian faith and heritage embraces ethnicities world-wide blending persons of varied cultural backgrounds and experiences yet being drawn by "One Lord, One Faith and One Baptism" (Ephesians 4:5).
Consider how and why it is important to discern the proper source of inquiring about Jesus.
Thursday August 6, 2020
23And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. 25He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 26If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. 27Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. John 12:23-27
We are not told whether or not the Greeks got to see Jesus. What we do know from John's gospel is that the Lord told Philip and Andrew what can be nothing less than a perplexing response using an agricultural analogy in relationship to his life. The Lord may not always respond as we desire or want. However, even the perplexing responses of the Lord remind us that what Jesus has done in facing life's troubling moments and seasons gives us the assurance that the Lord has brought us to this hour for the power of God to be revealed through us.
You cannot be sure of what will happen even when you go to an agreeable source to inquire about Jesus. Jesus has been the subject of much examination and study. There are a variety of ways about how the life and legacy of Jesus Christ finds expressions in people's lives and practices. H. Richard Niebuhr in a book entitled "Christ and Culture" shares some of those ways. (1) Christ against Culture / Christians must live in opposition toward their culture. (2) Christ of Culture / This group is at home in their relationship with Christ, but more so in their relationship to culture. (3) Christ above Culture / Christians in this camp compartmentalize faith and seal it off from regular life. (4) Christ and Culture in tension and paradox / There is a tension between what is and what will be, and the Christian and the Church are caught up in that dilemma. (5) Christ the transformer of Culture / This view assumes neither an optimistic or pessimistic position toward the world / Christ exerts redemptive power through the church and trusts God for the victories. The goal is to advance the redemptive rule of Christ in all areas of thought and life by the power of God.
Consider what it means for you during this life threatening time that through the gift of God's victory in Christ we can transform the culture redeeming the time even in evil and troubling days (Ephesians 5:16).
Friday August 7, 2020
28Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. 29The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. 30Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. 31Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 33 This he said, signifying what death he should die. John 12:20-33
Strange though it seems, Jesus was willing to permit his life to be used as a sacrifice in order for the Lord to be glorified redeeming the time and transforming the culture and refocusing the ultimate allegiance, loyalty and commitment in all of the changing scenes of life.
History is replete with instances and individuals of faith who to attest this reality. We come from a great breed of persons who faced their difficulties with decisiveness courageously. And we must not fail or shame it, whining and sniveling when some grave call is made upon our faith and courage. Ask the Lord Christ, who faced more than all the others had to do, to give us that spirit that led him to do what he did. Think of other have preceded you and triumph in their troubling times.
While there are many from our history we could cite with the faith of the Judeo-Christian heritage, think about the life and legacy of John Lewis whose life was commemorated and whose legacy celebrated this past week. "Get in good trouble." Jesus stayed in trouble with the established religious and political structures of his day as Christians in every time have had to get in good trouble to redeem the time.
Consider what you can do to be a part of participating with Jesus Christ transformer of culture as you face troubling times.
Saturday August 8, 2020
Beyond the trouble there is triumph. Faith continues to inspire individuals of all sorts to be consumed with lending themselves in the cause of transforming the systemic structures, practices. policies and principles that perpetuate what diminishes the value of people, freeing people from captivity of all sorts, liberating people from all sorts of bondage, enhancing people's live to fulfilling their potential as made in God's image and likeness.
Jennie Hussey's life was solitary and difficult. She spent hours each day caring for an invalid sister, and also battled with painful, crippling arthritis. Yet she maintained a bright, cheerful attitude through it all. Her family, going back many generations, had been Quakers (members of the Society of Friends). But Jennie chose to identify with the Baptists. When she requested believer's baptism at First Baptist Church in Concord, New Hampshire, she said to the pastor, "I've spent much of my life hidden away in the country, and I'd like to have the opportunity before God takes me home to tell everybody, "I love Jesus." One way Jennie did that is through the many hymns she wrote. And this particular one seemed to grow itself in an unusual way. One day when the painful trial of her arthritis was almost beyond endurance, she prayed, "Please, Lord, make me willing to bear my cross daily, without complaining, because you bore yours for me." She then sat down that prayer in lines of verse that would later become the hymn, King of my life I crow thee now.
Lead me to Calvary / King of my life I crown thee now / Thine shall the glory be / Lest I forget thy thorn-crowned brow / Lead me to Calvary.
Lest I forget Gethsemane / Lest I forget thine agony / Lest I forge thy love for me / Lead me to Calvary.
May I be willing, Lord to bear / Daily my cross for thee / Even thy cup of grief to share / Thou hast borne all for me.
We gather to commemorate and worship the life and legacy of Christ in our lives and the transformation that continually takes place as we crown him King of our life.
With every fiber of my being, with all of my heart soul and mind, I worship you heavenly father at this appointed time. Let nothing get in the way of what I can to say. You are worthy of all the praise that I bring.
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