A few years ago, my older son had a small plaque made. Unbeknownst to me, one Sunday before the worship service he went up into the high pulpit of our church and fixed the plaque on the bottom of the lectern. When I sit down in the pulpit, the words are at eye level:
“Sir, we want to see Jesus.”
The words are from John 12:20. They were spoken by some Greeks who had come to the Jewish festival of the Passover to worship.
When the disciples relayed the message to Jesus, he said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” By “hour” Jesus meant the time of his death.
Why would a visit by some religious seekers, outsiders, move Jesus to announce his death?
Because Jesus knew the religious insiders wanted to kill him.
The outsiders could see there was something special about Jesus. The insiders saw him as a threat.
The high pulpit in our church is one of the most beautiful pulpits anywhere. Our church is an architectural gem. But to outsiders, it can all look intimidating. It can look like it was built by and for religious insiders from generations ago.
“Sir, we want to see Jesus” then is a reminder of the scandalous nature of the cross and the entire Christian faith.
When you think you deserve to be in, you’re out.
When you’re out, and you know you could never deserve to be in, you’re in.
Christians, most of all preachers, need to remember that Jesus put us here so that outsiders might see Jesus through us.