We Wish to See Jesus
(A Good Friday Meditation)
Throughout history people have looked for the meaning of life, have wished to see or know God. As Jesus was attending Passover and approaching his death, a group of Gentiles approached Philip and said, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Jesus’ answer to this request allows all of us “to see Jesus” more clearly.
The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. (John 12:23-26)
Six Centuries before Jesus, the Hebrew Prophet, Jeremiah, proclaimed:
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. . .this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. . .for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more. (31:31-34)
Like Jesus after him, Jeremiah was helping us to see the face of God. To see a God who loves us as we are and will lead us more fully into God’s own heart. In Psalm 51 we see even more deeply into the heart of God and how God seeks to change our own hearts.
7 For behold, you look for truth deep within me, and will make me understand wisdom secretly.
8 Purge me from my sin, and I shall be pure; wash me, and I shall be clean indeed.
9 Make me hear of joy and gladness, that the body you have broken may rejoice.
10 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities.
11 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
12 Cast me not away from your presence and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
13 Give me the joy of your saving help again and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit.
The Psalmist reminds us that God is not only with us, but that God is within us: that God is in our heads and in our hearts, that God’s presence is with us forever and that through the Holy Spirit God uses us to share that presence with all those around us.
“Sir, we wish to see Jesus, we wish to see God”
Perhaps a hymn attributed to fifth century bishop and missionary to Ireland, Patrick, sums up the desire and reality of seeing and knowing Jesus, better than anyone.
Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ Behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger. (St. Patrick’s Breastplate)
“Sir, we wish to see Jesus!”