John 12.20 “Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival.21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus”.
This verse was at my licencing as Team Vicar / Minister at Large here in the Parish of Kingswood.
It has the Greeks approaching Philip and asking to meet Jesus, he introduces them to Andrew, and they take them to meet Jesus.
People want to meet Jesus.
Even people we don’t expect, want to meet Jesus, even the learned gentile Greeks wanted to meet Jesus.
Yet sometimes, we as his disciples have the awesome privilege of making the introduction, which leads to the question, are we a door or window pointing to Christ or a brick wall blocking him.
It also shows that Philip, one of the 12, gets a bit nervous and needs a bit of help from another disciple to make the introduction (via Andrew).
When we first started Street Pastors we learned to walk very slowly, to look around, to smile ridiculously often, making loads of eye contact, trying to make it as easy as possible for people who wanted to have a conversation with us.
It made me think, sometimes we make it ridiculously complicated for people to meet with Jesus with all sorts of baggage placed in the way of them meeting him, sometimes they bring with them huge amounts of baggage which makes meeting Jesus difficult.
I was thinking, when we help people with discipleship do we work with the Philip’s making it as easy as possible for them to make the introduction.
Are we prepared to help and accompany Christians as they step out in evangelism and discipleship? Maybe the call for some of us are to be “Andrew’s” to “Philip’s” where we walk with people to give them the confidence to lead people to Christ. So often we think as individuals, rather than working as a team.
I then thought about people meeting with Jesus, and realise how often I get stressed out about what the building looks like, our flyers, our coffee, how our music sounds, how our liturgy works, what clergy wear (or don’t wear) or what ‘churchmanship’ we follow…
The question I think we need to ask more and more is simple “IS JESUS HERE?” And is Jesus meeting with his people?
What is our job? To help people see Jesus!
To make the introduction.
Jesus once said “when he is lifted up he will draw all men to himself”.
This made me think, what is the most attractive thing on this planet?
Surely its the presence of Christ with his people?
Perhaps this is why children were drawn to Jesus?
And as people the most powerful thing we can offer the body of Christ is ourselves full of the Holy Spirit and reflecting him, people who know Christ and whom he shines out of.
Often we have ideas of the Holy Spirit turning up in our worship times, and I worry that sometimes we think it is to do with us, what songs we use, the skill of the music group, the right blend of songs… rather than simply the people of God being hungry and wanting to meet with Christ.
God responds simply to our hunger for himself.
We want to see Jesus.
It is all about God’s Presence.
Moses knew that “Lord if you don’t go with us, how will we be different from any of the other nations on the earth”.
“If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.” A.W Tozer.
We need to get back to a more basic Christianity which is more about Christ than the stuff around Christ.
A hunger for himself.
A desire to meet Jesus.
A desire for others to meet Jesus.
It is all about encountering Christ.
Scripture talks of ‘knowing’ Christ, let’s not be fobbed off with simply knowing ‘about’him.
I remember Hope’s first Christmas when she was less than a year old, she was more interested in the brightly coloured wrapped up boxes than the present inside.
Sometimes we as Christians get so worried about the wrapping we forget the Christ at the core.
Lets be people that encounter Christ habitually, people that make the introduction and enable others to meet with him too, both for the first time and more regularly in discipleship.
Let’s be people that help one another introduce people to Christ.
Let’s learn to be people free of baggage and clutter that gets in the way of people meeting with Christ.
…Because, we know that Jesus wants to be met with.