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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: The Gospels

Chapter 71 - John 12:12 - Inquiring after Jesus Light & Truth: The Gospels by Bonar, Horatius




Inquiring After Jesus.


"We would see Jesus."-John 12:12.



     It was from Gentile lips that these words came. A Jew would perhaps have said, in such circumstances, We would see this Christ; the Greek, who knows nothing about the Messiah, but hears of a wonder-working Galilean, says, "We would see Jesus," i.e. "we wish to see Him." Was this a genuine Gentile longing, expressive of the world's desire, for "the Desire of all nations,"-the utterance of a poor human heart that had heard of something likely to fill up its void,-the outgoing of feelings, such as drew the publicans and sinners to hear Him,-the vague cry of humanity, "Who will shew us any good"-brought at last to a point?

     We know not. We cannot answer these questions, for there is nothing in the narrative to illustrate the words; to tell who these Greeks were; in what spirit they put the request; or what was the answer. The narrative is abrupt and isolated. The words stand alone. "Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus." That is all we know. That Jesus received them, or shewed Himself to them, or spoke directly to them, is not said. Probably the discourse that follows was spoken in their hearing, though mainly intended for the disciples. They were brought in to the circle of disciples, as listeners to the gracious words which He proceeded to speak concerning Himself,-his life, his death, his resurrection.

     There are three kinds of inquirers after Jesus mentioned in the gospels. (1.) Herod who desired more than once to see Him (Luke 9:9, 13:8). His was curiosity that came to nothing. How many Herods are there! (2.) Zaccheus. He sought to see Jesus who He was. His curiosity came to something. It ended in a visit of Jesus Himself. There are Zaccheuses, too, whose first inquiries are vague, but who are led on by the Spirit to Jesus. (3.) The Greeks, These seem to have been farther on than Zaccheus in their inquiries. Theirs was more than curiosity; it was the earnest longing of men who had got a glimpse of Him. We have Greeks, too, in our day; men whose souls God has touched, and across whose eyes He has flashed some rays of the glory of his Incarnate Son. Are there any Greeks among us? Rest not; keep not aloof; come near; learn of Him; look to Him and be saved. For thus it is that the far-off Gentile is brought nigh; and the Greek becomes a Son of Abraham. Is there a Herod here? Beware and tremble. You may be lost. Your curiosity may end in nothing. Be a Zaccheus or a Greek. Jesus was not unwilling to be seen. He was the most accessible of men. Talk of kind, winning, accessible, large-hearted men!  Was there ever one like Him? He did not hide Himself; He did not turn from his fellow men, as if shrinking from their intercourse or disliking to be troubled. He made everybody feel at home with Him. He laid Himself out for meeting them, and being visited by them. He received sinners, and made them feel that He had come to save them.

     Modestly and diffidently these Greeks first approach the disciples, and through them are introduced to the Master. They needed not to have recourse to this circuitous manner of approach. Had they known Him thoroughly, they would sooner have gone to Himself He would say, "Suffer them to come," even when the disciples rebuked and forbade. And so is it still with us. We trust the disciple more than the Master. We go with confidence to a minister, but we go distrustingly to the Lord. What unbelief, what perversity, what ignorance!  How little have we learned his love!

     "We would see Jesus is the daily utterance of our heart. If we have seen little, we want to see much; if we have seen much, we want to see more. Shew us  Jesus is our cry.

     Why do we so desire to see Him? What does this vision do for us?

     1. It gives rest. To see Him as the resting-place is to rest. There are some objects so calm and restful, that the very sight of them is rest. This is one of them; the chief of them.

     2. It pacifies. He is our peace; and to see Him is to have peace. The sight of Him as the propitiation for sin pacifies the conscience.

     3. It quickens. He is our life; and the sight of Him as such puts life into us. It is a quickening vision.

     4. It heals. As the Sun of righteousness. He rises on us with healing. There is health in looking to this sun of health.

     5. It enlightens. He is the light of the world; and to see Him as such is to have day within us. It is an enlightening vision.

     6. It sets free. He and his truth make us free. Connection with Him is liberty. The vision liberates. It thaws the soul, and melts all our ice.

     7. It strengthens. All power is in Him; and the sight of Him draws it out to us. We become strong in looking.

     8. It fills. In Him is all fullness; and in looking we are filled. Every void in our souls disappears.

     9. It gladdens. We are made partakers of his joy. We are satisfied. It is a gladdening and satisfying