In the story of Jesus healing a blind man near the town of Bethsaida, we see the power of Jesus to open that which has been closed. Jesus takes the blind man who has been brought to him outside of the village. The man is taken out of his comfort zone, his familiar. Once outside the village
Jesus touches his eyes and then asks the man to describe what he sees. The man’s description indicates to us that his sight is only partially restored. Like Paul describes in 1 Corinthians, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly…” (1 Corinthians 13:12, NRSV) Jesus touches the man’s eyes again and the man’s eyesight is fully restored.
We are spiritually like the blind man. We are unable to see Jesus in a spiritual way. We remain in the familiar because we are unable to navigate safely in the spiritual realm. Then someone brings us to Jesus. Jesus takes us out of our comfort zone. Our spirits are touched by the Lord’s Spirit. At first we can only partially see the fullness of Christ and only partially understand the grace and magnitude of the Lord’s love. There will come a day when our hearts will be touched by the Spirit again and we will be open to see the completeness of our Lord.
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.
John 12:20-21 (NIV)
Have you ever had the privilege to see a celebrity person in a close setting? Maybe you were part of a reception line. Even better, maybe you had a conversation with them and even had a picture taken. Most of us have few, if any, opportunities like were just described. Many celebrity individuals have such busy schedules and numerous demands that they are unable to spend time with the average person. People like the Pope, Queen Elizabeth, and the President of the United States have to have individuals who manage all the requests for an audience with them. The requests are many and the time is limited.
Today’s passage presents a time when a group of Greeks desired an audience with Jesus. They had to go to one of the inner twelve to ask to see Jesus. It is probable that this occurred many times after Jesus became known throughout the region. Apparently, Philip was not sure about going to Jesus with the request alone so he co-opted his brother, Andrew. We are told they make Jesus aware but we are not told if the request is granted or not. Jesus instead is recorded as discussing his death and what is necessary to follow him. The request just sits there.
Like the group of Greeks, we also would like to see Jesus. One of the challenges of our Christian faith is not being able to physically see or audibly hear the One who we follow. Yet we can have our request met if we realize that Jesus is a part of those around us. As the line from a praise song says, “Open the eyes of my heart Lord, I want to see you.” (Open the Eyes of My Heart, Paul Baloche) We need the Lord to open us to seeing and hearing him in those around us. We have been granted an audience with the Lord through the lives of one another.