When it comes to eternal truths, too many people have blinders on their hearts. Our text this morning is about people who cannot understand the reality of God’s coming Kingdom because of certain preconceived expectations that they have. The result is that their hearts are blinded the truth and spiritual realities.
I want to begin this morning by reading you the text from the translation called (The Message). I want to use this translation as the introduction because I believe it gives us a good sense of what is happening here. “There were some Greeks in town who had come up to worship at the Feast. They approached Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee: “Sir, we want to see Jesus. Can you help us?” Philip went and told Andrew. Andrew and Philip together told Jesus. Jesus answered, “Time’s up. The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. “Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.” (John 12:20–25, The Message)
Our story today opens with a group of God-fearing Gentiles (Greeks) who have come to worship at the Passover Festival. But they are more than just curious visitors or one time investigators of Judaism—they are seeking the truth. They’ve heart the stories of a miracle-working Rabbi whom people are saying could be the Messiah. They approach Philip with an appeal to "see" Jesus. Perhaps they came to Philip because Philip is a Greek name. Philip was apparently also perplexed about what to do so he consulted Andrew. And Andrew did what he always did—he brought people to Jesus.
The first part of Jesus' response is startling. He says, "The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified." (v. 23) Up to this point His Disciples, have heard him say over and over, "My hour has not yet come." The first occurrence is at the Wedding in Cana where Jesus performed his first miracle when his mother came to him and asked him to do something about the wine for the wedding feast. Jesus said to her, "…. My hour has not yet come," (John 2:4).In the seventh chapter of his Gospel, John tells us that Jesus told his brothers to go on up to the feast at Jerusalem but that he was not going up because "my hour has not yet come" (John 7:6). And, in the eighth chapter, as he is speaking in Jerusalem and already the opposition against him is beginning to form, John says, "No man laid hands on him to arrest him, because his hour had not yet come," (John 8:20). Yet now, when a handful of strangers come and the report is carried to Jesus that a certain group of Greeks want to see him, suddenly, to his disciples' amazement, He seems greatly moved with emotion and says, "Now my hour has come. The time has come for me to be glorified." This event seems to be to Jesus like a great clock striking the hour, a momentous moment of his life when all that he had lived for shall now find its fulfillment.
What Jesus makes clear is that the coming of the Greeks in some way communicated to the Lord the fact that the climax of his work on earth was at hand! The great question of the hour is “Will those who hear His message believe, or will the blinders on their hearts keep them from seeing the truth?” The passage ends with Jesus quoting the Prophet Isaiah: “Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.” (John 12:37–40, ESV)
What are the blinders of the heart that keep men from seeing the Truth of Jesus?
Con. Among Baptists, one of the most recognized invitation hymns is Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus. Listen to the words: “O soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? (because you have blinders on?) There’s light for a look at the Savior, and life more abundant and free! Turn you eyes upon Jesus, Look full in his wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of his glory and grace.”