Have you ever though how wonderful it would have been to be there when the throngs of people lined the streets leading to Jerusalem. How marvelous to see Jesus riding through the Eastern Gate and shouting Hosanna to the Highest!
The whole city was a buzz of talk of the Messiah. The hubbub was so great that everyone was wanting to see Jesus.
The Pharisees were so jealous. In John 12:19 they exclaimed, “Look, the whole world has gone after him!”rock-star-jesus2
Jesus had become a Rock Star to use language you might understand. It was as if He had won American Idol. And with fame comes those who are curious. Look with me at John 12:20-36.
Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus." Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn Andrew and Philip told Jesus. But Jesus answered them, saying, "The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. "Now My soul is 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 from heaven, saying, "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again." Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to Him." Jesus answered and said, "This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself." This He said, signifying by what death He would die. The people answered Him, "We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up'? Who is this Son of Man?" Then Jesus said to them, "A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light." These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them. John 12:21-36 (NKJV)
A simple request, Sir, we want to see Jesus! Yet John doesn’t record that they were able to see Jesus. In fact he says Jesus went and hid himself. Could it be that Jesus hides Himself from people today? We need to go back to the beginning of Christ’s ministry and see why Jesus reacted this way. Why He said and God said what He did. From the very beginning of His ministry people wanted to see Jesus.
1. People Wanted To See Jesus For What He Could Do…
# Luke 4:35 Jesus casts out unclean spirits. The report of what He had done went out throughout the region.
# Luke 5:12 Jesus cleanses a Leper. More reports, Great multitudes. (vs 15)
# Luke 5:19, A Paralyzed man is lowered through the roof.
# Luke 6, A man with a withered hand.
# Jesus heals a whole multitude (Luke 6:19)
# Luke 7:2 A Centurion seeks Jesus
# Luke 7:13 Jesus raises the son of a widow woman from the dead
# Luke 8:4 Great multitudes assembled and Jesus taught
# Luke 8:41 Jairus wants to see Jesus to get him to heal his daughter. Jairus is a ruler of a local synagogue.
# Luke 8:44 A woman with an issue of blood (12 years) touches the hem of the robe of Jesus
# Luke 8:50, Jesus raises the daughter to life!
# Luke 9:21 Jesus predicts His death.
# Luke 9:37 Great multitudes continue to seek Jesus.
# Luke 9:44 Jesus pleads with them to let His words sink down into their ears. He is about to die!
# Luke 16:31 Story of a Rich man and a beggar they all knew as Lazarus. "If they do not Hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead."
# Luke 18:31 Jesus for the THIRD time predicts his Death but also His resurrection.
# Luke 18:41 WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO FOR YOU?
# Luke 18:42 He gives the blind man his sight
# Luke 19:3 Zacchaeus wants to see Jesus.
# Luke 19:28 The crowds reach the tumult, for His triumphant entry.
2. People Wanted To See Jesus For Their Own Selfish Wants
* Luke 23:8 Herod was glad to see Jesus, for he thought he was a court jester, able to do miracles for entertainment.
o He was a good luck charm, there for the Kings pleasure.
* John 11:32 Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died."
o They wanted Jesus to do their bidding, to bail them out of a jam, heal their brother. They thought they had a monopoly on Jesus.
People just didn’t understand Jesus. They valued Jesus only as someone who could do something for them. They did not value Jesus for who He is.
Mary and Martha saw Jesus as the Christ of God, able to do mighty miracles because God would respond to His prayers. But Jesus wanted them to see that HE is LIFE. He is the Resurrection. He is God.
Then Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You." Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" She said to Him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world." John 11:21-27 (NKJV)
BUT THEY DID NOT SEE THAT GOD HIMSELF WAS STANDING BEFORE THEM, THAT JESUS CHRIST WAS THE RESURRECTION AND LIFE. HE IS LIFE.
If you do not see Jesus as He is, you might as well be like the countless multitude who every Christmas gaze upon the manger scene and think how wonderful baby Jesus is. Look how neat he is to be born at Christmas time so we can get all kinds of gifts. You might as well get you a charm or a cross and wear it and tell all your friends how good Jesus is to you and how you love Him so. In the meantime you go around sinning just like the world. Jesus is just a lucky charm that you pull out when you get sick or things aren’t going right at work or home. You only want to see Jesus because He can do something for you. Jesus loves me after all. He forgives me, he loves me just the way I am.
3. Do You Want to See Jesus?
Do you want to see the real Jesus Christ? Do you want to know the Son of God? Do you desire as Paul Prayed in Ephesians…
"that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height-- to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." EPH 3:17-19 Christ came that we might be FILLED WITH THE FULLNESS OF GOD!
JESUS REVEALED THREE CONDITIONS THAT MUST BE MET BEFORE YOU CAN REALLY SEE JESUS.
A. HEAR & OBEY THE WORD OF CHRIST
IN OUR TEXT: "This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. Now is the judgment of this world"
* Three times Jesus told them that He would die and rise again.
* He told Martha that He was the resurrection and the Life.
* He told the Rich man that if they did not listen to Moses and the prophets they would not believe even if they witnessed a person raise form the dead.
There is only one thing that can open your eyes to see Jesus. A willingness to OBEY the Word of God.
But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:8-10 (NKJV)
Obedience to the Words of Christ will result in a change of heart. That change of heart will result in a heart that desires to obey Him!
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' Matthew 7:21-23 (NKJV)
"But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say? Luke 6:46 (NKJV)
You can say you LOVE Jesus. He can even be like a Rock Star to you. You can get you all teary eyed because He loves you so. But if you do not Listen to His Word, Believe His Word and OBEY it, take it into Your Heart and Life, you do not know the Real Jesus, and worst yet, He does not know you. Why should He reveal Himself to you if you don’t intend to fully obey Him. YOU ARE JUST LIKE ALL THE OTHERS WHO ARE TAKERS AND NOT OBEYERS.
The Greeks wanted to see Jesus, and in answer, a Voice came from Heaven. It was the Voice of Jehovah, El Shaddai, Creator God. It was the Voice to be listened to and obeyed. "This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. Now is the judgment of this world. Listen to the Voice of God, the Word of God. Obey, for Judgment has come.
B. FOLLOW JESUS by SERVING HIM
In our text: He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also.
Jesus said: He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. MATT 10:37-39
Seeing the real Jesus requires a total surrender of your life, all that you want, all that you have. Anything less and you just want a good luck charm, You want to live your life for your benefit, and not Jesus. Why should He show His true self to someone who doesn’t want to follow Him, who doesn’t want to know Him as THEIR LORD, AS THEIR LIFE? If you love your life, your possessions, your place in this world, you can’t see Jesus. If you want to see the Author of Eternal Life, you must see Him without holding on to anything. Jesus will never show himself to you if you merely want someone to tag along as you live your life.
C. GLORY IN THE POWER OF THE CROSS
IN OUR TEXT: And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:17-18 (NKJV)
Jesus never came to the world to be a Rock Star, the King of newly liberated Jews. Some teach that if only the Jews had accepted Him. No. Jesus came for the cross. He came to be cursed for you and me.
The Cross is the most powerful message Christians have. Christians are nothing without the Cross.
On the Cross Christ experienced the most severe physical pain, the most severe psychological pain, but worse than all that, He experienced Hell for all eternity. He became sin, He became the most disgusting thing in the entire universe. He became you and me. He took our place. “that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.” Hebrews 2:9
He experienced an eternity of Hell for me. He experienced an eternity of Hell for you.
It is curious that people who are filled with horrified indignation whenever a cat kills a sparrow can hear the story of the killing of God told Sunday after Sunday and not experience any shock at all.
Jesus told his disciples, that if these men wanted to see Him, they must see Him on the Cross. “Judgment was now upon the world, and Satan was about to be dealt with. Jesus was about to be lifted up athe covenant sacrifice between God and man, Heaven and earth, Holy God and cursed man.
Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself." This He said, signifying by what death He would die. The people answered Him, "We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up'? Who is this Son of Man?" Then Jesus said to them, "A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.
The cross is what brought light into the world. To see the Light of the world is not possible without seeing Christ crucified on the cross. But that is not enough. You don’t gaze upon the cross and think of poor Jesus. You don’t think upon the cross and wonder such a waste. What could he have done…
We MUST EXPERIENCE the CROSS of CHRIST
This is where most pretend followers fail. Like Judas, like Demas. Paul tells us we IDENTIFY with the Cross. Paul tells us that the Cross must be central in our life, It must be the core belief in our Walk with Jesus Christ. If we are to See Jesus on a Daily Basis, we must take up the cross DAILY, without complaint, without regret.
But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6:14 (NKJV)
The cross is what seperates the Christian from being like the world. We die to self we die to what we want. To See Jesus we must serve Him, We must give our lives to the Cross. Paul cried his heart out over supposed Christians who became the enemy of the Cross.
Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame--who set their mind on earthly things. Philippians 3:17-19 (NKJV)
If you are a "professed" Christian, yet not embracing the cross, not dying to self, living in the world, loving the things of the world, doing shameful things, don’t pretend to be a follower of Christ. In reality you are an enemy of the cross, you are just like those soldiers beating and taunting Jesus. You haven’t seen Jesus on the Cross. The world has not been crucified to you.
All those people wanted Jesus to do something for them. They followed and praised because He was a great prophet who could do such wonderful things for them. He healed, he spoke amazing words. But it is not about what Jesus can do for us.
Jesus is no rock star. He is no American Idol. He does not want us to think about him that way. He will never reveal himself if you have that mind-set.
What he told his disciples many times, what he told the crowds at least three times, if you want to see the Real Jesus, the Son of God Jesus, the Savior Jesus, the Redeemer Jesus, Jesus the Lamb of God, you must look long and hard at the Cross. You must look and see Him upon the Cross, dying for you. You must be willing to die to what you want, you must be willing to follow Him by taking up His Cross.
He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 10:37-39 (NKJV)
In saving Private Ryan, we see a group of Army Rangers led by Tom Hanks trying to reach Private Ryan and bring him home. He wants to stay for one last fight, and in the battle, Tom Ryan is mortally wounded.
Private Ryan leans over to him, and Tom Hanks whispers something to him. Private Ryan bent down and Tom Hanks said, "Earn this."
The truth is, no Army Ranger would ever say “Earn This”. Why? Because the Ranger motto for the past two hundred years has not been "Earn this." The Ranger motto for the past two hundred years has been Sua sponte, "I chose this." I volunteered for this.
So, when Private Ryan bent down, if Tom Hanks was really a Ranger he would have said, "Sua sponte, I chose this. This is free. You don't pay anything for this. I give up my life for you. That's my job."
And so when you look at the cross and see Jesus hanging there, what you do not hear is "Earn this." You never hear Jesus say, "Earn this." He doesn't say, "I've given everything for you. Now you need to gut it out for me." What he says is "Sua sponte." OF MY OWN ACCORD I volunteered for this. You don't have to pay anything for it.
But Jesus adds something else, that only the Son of God can say. He says, “Follow Me”.
Because Jesus redeemed you with His life, Because He showed Sin and Satan and Death that His sacrifice was not in vain, for He rose from the dead as we will celebrate next week, He now says to you;
Once you look upon the cross and turn away from your sin, this sinful world and being the boss of your life, then you must give your heart and life to me. I can give you Life. I can say to you FOLLOW ME.
John Michael Montgomery sings "The Little Girl."
Her parents never took the young girl to church
Never spoke of His name
Never read her His word
Two non-believers walking lost in this world
Took their baby with them
What a sad little girl
Her daddy drank all day and mommy did drugs
Never wanted to play
Or give kisses and hugs
She'd watch the TV and sit there on the couch
While her mom fell asleep And her daddy went out
And the drinking and the fighting
just got worse every night
Behind their couch she'd be hiding
Oh what a sad little life
And like it always does, the bad just got worse
With every slap and every curse
Until her daddy in a drunk rage one night
Used a gun on her mom and then took his life
And some people from the city took the girl far away
To a new mom and a new dad
kisses and hugs everyday
Her first day of Sunday school the teacher walked in
And a small little girl
Stared at a picture of Him
She said I know that man up there on that cross
I don't know His name
But I know He got off
Cause He was there in my old house
and held me close to His side
As I hid there behind our couch
The night that my parents died
This little girl saw Jesus. She didn’t know better. He came to her in her need. One time His light shown upon your life. He came to you in your need. What has happened since?
Some of you have let your will, your life, your things, your world keep you from seeing Jesus. He is only a charm now. The cross is only something you wear around your neck. He is only a profession made years ago.
For you to see Jesus, you must die to everything that is yours, you must embrace the cross, you must carry the cross, You must feel the cross. By the cross of Christ, disobedience, rebellion, hurts, bitterness, the flesh is crucified, and Jesus is allowed to LIVE in your life. Jesus becomes real.
DO YOU REALLY WANT TO SEE JESUS?
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