these then came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."John 12:21(NASB)
There was a point in Christ's ministry, when the hour had arrived for the Son of Man to be glorified. This time had been scheduled from the foundation of the world and Christ's whole life, from His birth in Bethlehem, had been a journey towards this historic moment.
He had been sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and had been baptised by John in the River Jordan to fulfil all righteousness. He had declared His Messianic mission throughout His ministry and authenticated His claims through many signs and wonders. He had been identified as 'My beloved Son' by His Father in heaven and anointed by Mary of Bethany for His burial, when she broke open the alabaster box of precious ointment and poured it on His feet.
He had told Nicodemus that as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that all who believe on Him - all Who look to the Son of Man for salvation - would be healed and declared righteous by His Heavenly Father.
However, it appears that the trigger-point for Jesus to make His astonishing announcement: "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified," took place when a little group of God-fearing Gentiles, who had come up to Jerusalem to worship God at the feast of Passover, came seeking the Lord and said to Philip, "Sir, we would see Jesus."
Jesus came as the fulfilment of prophecy. He came to save His people, Israel, from their sin. But His offer of salvation was wider than the chosen nation into which He was born. He not only came as Messiah of Israel but also as Saviour of the world; to redeem Jew and Gentile alike.
The hour of His crucifixion had come when the Son of Man was about to be lifted up on the Cross. The time had arrived when the eternal Son of the Father would be sacrificed for the sin of the world and would be cursed by God. The sinless Son of Man would be made sin for us by taking upon Himself the accumulated filth of the world so that ALL who looked to HIM might be saved.
To fulfil Scripture, salvation had to come through the Seed of the woman Who was to crush the serpent's head, but the heel of the Saviour would also be bruised in the battle. The wounds inflicted on Him were due to our transgressions, and the bruising He received was because of our iniquity.
To fulfil Scripture, salvation had to come through the Jews. The Messiah had to come through the Seed of Abraham, the father of faith. He was born through Isaac, his son of promise and Israel, God's chosen people. He was from the house of Judah who held the kingly sceptre and David, the man after God's own heart who was chosen as the shepherd-king of Israel.
And in this passage, the hour had come when Christ would be betrayed into the hands of Gentiles, falsely accused, and unlawfully sentenced to death. The hour had come for Jesus to be beaten and whipped, scourged and mocked, ridiculed and put to death. The hour had come when a crown of thorns would be rammed on His brow and a trusted friend who had professed Him as: "Christ, the Son of the living God," would deny Him three times.
The time for the heavenly Seed to fall into the ground and die had come, for unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies it remains alone - it stays a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds and brings many sons to glory.
The crowd would change their cry of: "Hosannah, blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord," to a brutal scream of: "We will not have the man to rule over us! Crucify Him! His blood be on us and on our children. We have no king but Caesar!"
And so, as the hour came for the Son of Man to be glorified, a group of Gentiles, who were travelling to Jerusalem with others attending the feast, came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."
Today we are living in the age of grace when whosoever wishes to come to Jesus may look to Him and live. Whosoever will, may have their spiritual eyes opened by grace through faith in Him. Whosoever will, may come to Him freely and drink of the water of Life, eat of the living Bread, and be transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son, by faith.
May we not only be that little group of Gentiles who wished to see Jesus, but may we be like Philip; men and women who point others in His direction.
Heavenly Father, I praise and thank You that Jesus is the Seed of the woman Who has crushed the head of the Serpent, and that He is the Messiah of Israel Who came to fulfil Scripture and be crowned as their Messiah-King. I also thank You that You did not exclude the Gentiles from Your gift of salvation, but opened the life-gate so that whosoever will, may come to You and look, and believe, and live. Thank You that whosoever will may come and 'see' the Lord Jesus and be saved by faith in Him. AMEN.