Thursday, March 22, 2018

Bishop’s Note: March 22, 2018: – Sir, We Wish To See Jesus

Bishop Eric Menees

This past Sunday we read from the 12th chapter of the Gospel of John, which contains my favorite scripture - verse 21b, in bold below:  

[20] Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. [21] So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” [22] Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. (John 12:20-22)

This is really an astonishing scene. Now, the fact that some foreigners were going to worship in the Temple is not so amazing – there were those who were Jewish converts, mostly through inter-marriage. Indeed, the Temple had the “Court of the Gentiles,” which was the outer court in the Temple compound. What is amazing here is first that these foreigners came to Philip and Andrew, second that they asked for Jesus: “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”

Philip goes to Andrew, presumably to say, “So what should we do with these Greeks?” Andrew must have said something like, “Let’s go and ask Jesus if he wants to see them.” What to do when you don’t know what to do? Ask the boss!

I mentioned earlier that this scripture is an Anchor Scripture for me – the verse is John 12:21b: “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” When I was first ordained, I was placed in charge of a congregation. Nervous and wet behind the ears, I was very anxious to impress the congregation with my wisdom and understanding. After about a six weeks of preaching and teaching – and getting absolutely no feedback – I asked the parish secretary, Virginia Ram, how she thought I was doing. (In retrospect, I was actually just insecure and fishing for a complement.)

Thankfully, Mrs. Ram was a very honest and kind woman; she said: “Dcn. Eric, we know that you are very smart and well educated – you don’t need to prove it to us. Think of it this way: we are like the Greeks – WE JUST WANT TO SEE JESUS. When you prepare your sermons, that’s what you should think – just point people to Jesus!”

Ever since that difficult and blessed meeting, every time I prepare a sermon I think to myself, “Does this point people to Jesus, or does it point people to me?” Brothers and sisters, disciples of Jesus Christ must always point people to Jesus. 

This Holy Season, let us constantly direct our own attention to Jesus!

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