Seeing Jesus

“Sir, we need to see Jesus.” Can we really? Can we really want to see Jesus? Or will we pretend, feign curiosity, when really, seeing Jesus merely could set off a sort of discomfort we’d pretty not experience.

I am pretty amazed by these Greeks. I get that in John they characterize the world. The world that God loves. The world that God saves. The world that rejects a presence of God that merely could set off a reasonably cataclysmic theological event.

Nevertheless on the an identical time, they characterize us. They normally ask what we should always all the time ask. As a result of it appears, this verse is carved into pulpits all around the world. Why? On account of we preachers need this reminder. Our sermons should not at all be merely particulars about Jesus. They should permit the seeing of Jesus. The experiencing of Jesus. If our sermons solely current a level, solely summarize the Gospel, solely hand out perfunctory condensations of what Jesus means, properly then, as my former colleague, Gracia Grindal used to say, we would merely as properly ship an e mail. Then all individuals may maintain residence, positioned on one different pot of espresso, and browse the Sunday paper.

The request of the Greeks is essential for our time. They ask to see. They don’t request proof. They don’t ask for an argument. They don’t need an apologetic. They solely want to see. They get what “come and see” is all about — and invitation to be. An invitation to abide. An invitation to relationship.

And however, how sometimes will we ask to see, even demand sight, nonetheless however have already decided what’s value seeing — and what isn’t. Numerous what’s occurring now, in administration, in our church buildings, in the best way during which we work along with each other, notably on social media the place we’ll conveniently put apart responsibility and accountability, we see solely in an effort to guage, to maintain up our private self-righteousness, to not get to know, to be taught, or to know the alternative. As one sensible particular person I do know talked about, administration does not indicate principal an assault.

I consider that lots of what’s incorrect with religion, with Christianity, with church and its assorted denominations, with, in my context, seminaries, is the conviction that now we have to justify, present, or validate the presence of God, the need for God, the understanding of God, all with an accompanying acceptable piety, pretty than embodying, giving witness to, the reality {that a} theological perspective could really matter for making sense of the world. We spend a uncommon time period and vitality organising a attainable justification for our God who cannot be justified by our necessities.

We advocate for curricula, in our seminaries and in our church buildings, which assume information about God is the same as an experience of God. We focus on God as if God weren’t throughout the room. We focus on God as if God had been merely the subject of our supposed dialogue pretty than the essential presence in our conversations. And we focus on God as if “I AM” was merely a recollection of God’s revelation pretty than a model new methodology God could also be revealing God’s very self.

How rather a lot now now we have descended into idolatry. How rather a lot we rely on our private manifestations of God pretty than prepared for disclosure from God. How rather a lot we perception our private divine constructs pretty than keep out for a possibility that God could startle us as quickly as as soon as extra. Theology has grew to become certainty. And so now now we have adopted go effectively with (or, possibly it’s the alternative methodology spherical), working solely with the foundations of assumption and correction and labeling, perpetuating the binaries of correct and incorrect, good and harmful, moral and immoral, thereby creating distances so enormous it’s exhausting to consider strategies which will mend the chasms of our private improvement.

And so, as an alternative of wishing to see Jesus at work, Jesus in our midst, we search to manage Jesus pretty than remaining open to the Spirit. We assert parameters for God’s train pretty than anticipating shock. We insist that we’ll resolve divinity or regulate God’s revelation. And after we come up fast, pretty than realizing our misguided assumptions about God, we try extra sturdy to execute our plans.

When it doesn’t go our methodology, after we uncover ourselves confronted with our private mounted expectations of God, we quickly back-peddle, hoping to stay away from the discomfort of recognizing our private need for forgiveness.

The request of the Greeks is an open-ended need. They want to see, as a result of it seems, absent of predetermined outcomes or preconceived notions, not lower than according to the textual content material. And the result is that Jesus speaks the truth that is his very self. The truth we not at all want to see. The truth we would like we would un-see. The truth about God and that is God and the truth about ourselves. The hour has come.

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