Sir, We would see Jesus

From the Differentiator magazine:
Vol. 18 New Series June, 1956 No. 3

JOHN 12:20-24
The Pharisees were excessively annoyed when the Lord raised Lazarus from the dead. It was intolerable that many of the Jews should believe in Him as their Messiah, as this might mean that the Romans would come and "take away our place as well as our nation" (John 11:48). It was then that they made up their mind to kill the Lord.

To make matters worse, it would seem they observed some of the foreign proselytes who intended to worship at the festival of the Jews, perhaps including the Greeks who are mentioned. In wrathful despair the Pharisees cry, "Lo! the world comes away after Him." Not only Israelites, but some from other nations, the world. It was insufferable that even Gentile outsiders should get to hear that this man Jesus had raised Lazarus. It meant much that such Gentile dogs should wish to worship the God of Israel. It implied that they were righteous and good-living men. They had chosen to worship Israel's God because they knew He was the only God, and a holy God.

Why did these Greeks approach Philip and tell him that they wished to become acquainted with Jesus? Was this out of mere curiosity on their part? And why did Jesus give an answer which seems very indirect?

The probability is that these Greeks were far more sympathetic towards the Lord than curious to see Him and speak with Him. They must have apprehended that the Lord was as an outcast in the eyes of the chiefs of the people. Godet has painted a fine picture of what probably happened. The Greeks may have witnessed the Lord's entry into Jerusalem, and His expulsion of the merchants from the Temple, whereby the Lord restored to its proper use the only part of the sanctuary which was open to them, the Court of the Gentiles. Or they may have heard of these events. This may have stirred up within them a strong desire to get to know Jesus better. At the time Jesus was in the Court of the women, which was entered after crossing the Court of the Gentiles. They may have observed Him as He passed through the Court of the Gentiles.

Godet suggests that they may have wished to invite the Lord to turn to the Gentiles, seeing that Israel had accorded Him such a poor reception. They may have known what the Hebrew Scriptures prophesied regarding the call of Gentiles. Eusebius has recorded in his ecclesiastical history how an embassy was sent to Jesus by the king of Edessa in Syria, inviting Him to take up His abode with the King, and promising Him such a royal welcome as should compensate for the obstinacy of the Jews who rejected Him.

The Greeks approached Philip cautiously and modestly. As a disciple of such a Master, they called Philip "Sir," or Lord (kurios).

Godet suggests they may have come from some district near to Galilee, perhaps the Decapolis (Ten Cities), where there were several entirely Greek cities. Philip and Andrew, who approached the Lord with the request of the Greeks, are the only two of the disciples whose names are of Greek origin. Philip belonged to Bethsaida of Galilee. Perhaps that was why the Greeks approached him first.

But the Lord was only sent to the lost sheep of the House of Israel (Matt. 15:24). Nevertheless, He must have been greatly cheered to find that Gentiles were seeking after Him. "It is, as it were, the first bursting forth of a new world." In due time the Gentiles would hear and would acclaim Him as Lord; But first, He must carry out His immediate responsibilities to His own nation, and "the way of Calvary unveiled itself before Him." Gentiles were knocking at the door of the Kingdom. "Did He not know that it was from the height of a cross that He would draw all humanity unto Him?"

The approach of the Greeks was a signal to the Lord, a direct and timeous encouragement from the Father. It was a signal for the human race, and especially for Israel, that a decisive hour had arrived.

So the Lord gives His answer: "The hour has come that the Son of Humanity should be glorified. Verily, verily, I am saying to you, except the kernel of the wheat, falling into the earth, may be dying, itself it is remaining albne, yet if ever it may be dying, much fruit it is bringing forth." Then in v. 32 He says that His dying will draw ALL (emphatic) to Himself.

Could the death of the Prince of Glory ever bring forth anything but fruit?

Alexander Thomson

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Listing of Articles

Who is our God? Chapter 1
Who is our God? Chapter 2
Who is our God? Chapter 3
Who is our God? Chapter 4
Who is our God? Chapter 5
Who is our God? Chapter 6
Who is our God? Chapter 7
Who is our God? Chapter 8
Who is our God? Chapter 9
Who is our God? Chapter 10
Who is our God? Chapter 11
Who is our God? Chapter 12
Who is our God? Chapter 13
Who is our God? Chapter 14
Who is our God? Chapter 15
Who is our God? Chapter 16
Who is our God? Chapter 17
A Female Deity?
Acts 7:15 & 16
All Things
Amos 3:6
An Answer to the Challenge of Hell
Angels & Men One Species?
An Interesting New Version
Are You an Ambassador?
Are You a Pillar?
Are You a Witness for Jehovah?
Are You an Israelite? Chapter 1
Are You an Israelite? Chapter 2
Are You an Israelite? Chapters 3 & 4
A Special Resurrection?
Baptized for the Dead?
"Beloved" or "Loveable"?
Brotherly Love
Book Review
Colossians 1:23
Common or Unclean?
Common Sense
Did Paul Visit Spain?
Did the Lord give up His Flesh?
"Divine" Fire?
Doctoring the Holy Scriptures
Does God know Everything?
Does God will Everything?
Does your Spiritual Life seem Unreal?
Did God hate Esau?
Earth our Future Home?
Emphasis in the Scriptures
English more Archaic than Ancient Hebrew?
Ephesians 1:23
Erroneous Translations
Gleanings from A.T.
Heaven our Homeland
How is Christ God's "Word"?
How many were Crucified?
In the Christ All Shall Be Made Alive
Is Dust the Serpent's Food?
Is the Devil Impersonal?
Isaiah 26:14,19
James 4:5
Jehovah's Theocratic Organization
Jesus the Saviour
John 19:29
The Kingdom of the Hebrews
Leave it with God
Men or Mortals?
Misplaced Ingenuity
New Light on the Second Death
None Other Things
Objective Value of Prayer
Other or Different
Our Advocate
Paul's Chain
Paul the Sensitive
Paul versus James
Prevailing Prayer
Problems of Translation: I Cor. 7:21
Problems of Translation: II Cor. 3:18
Psalm 66:18
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
Rogues and Rascals
Rom 9 & 10: Human Freedom & Human Choice
Romans 9:14-24
Romans 9:30 to 10:21
II Corinthians 5:16
II Peter 3:10
Seven Wicked Spirits
Shall We See God?
Sir, We would see Jesus
Should we fear God?
The Bloody Husband
The Cherubim of Glory
The Corinthian Error
The Cunning Manager
The Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah
The Designation of Jesus as "God"
The Disruption Fallacy
The Disruption Fallacy #2
The Eighth of Proverbs
The Eleven "Generations" of Genesis
The Elohim
The Ends of the Eons
The Eternal Saviour-Judge
The Eternity of Hell Torments
The First Christian Convention
The Four Gospels
The Gentiles in Ephesians
The Greek Definite Article
The Hardening of Pharoah's Heart
The Hebrew Conception of Time
The Hebrews Epistle
The Hebrew Terms Rendered 'For Ever'
The Hope of Israel
The Life of Prayer
The Lord Jesus Revealing the Heart of God
The Lord's Relatives
The Lordly Supper
The Meaning of Ta Panta
The Ministry of Women Parts 1 & 2
The Ministry of Women Parts 3 & 4
The "Penalty of Sin"
The Poor in Spirit
The Primeval Laws
The Primeval Laws #2
The Problem of Evil
The Quality of Divine Love
The Rich Man and Lazarus
The Serpent of Genesis 3
The Soul and the Spirit
The Talmud of the Jews Parts 1 & 2
The Talmud of the Jews Parts 3 & 4
The Translation of Acts 28:25
The Trial of the Lord
The Truth of the Bible
The Two Seeds
The Works of Henry Clay Mabie, D.D.
"Three Days and Three Nights"
Translator's Incentive
Truthfulness and Mercy
Try the Spirits
Unto Eternity and Further
We have all been Wrong
What did Peter do?
What does Olethros mean?
What Happened to Jephthah's Daughter?
What is Destruction?
What is the Flesh?
What is the Sin unto Death?
Whence "Eternity"?
Who are the Saints?
Who is Jehovah?
Who Shall Deliver Me?
Why Pray?
Why the "Lake" of Fire?
Will God Punish?
Will the Lord Come for Us?
Will the Man of Lawlessness be Killed?


The Differentiator Revisited 2009