When Jesus entered Jerusalem, shortly before His crucifixion, He was greeted by “a great crowd” (John 12:12). He was greeted with praise: Hosanna! – “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” (John 12:13). The people viewed Jesus as the fulfilment of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming King. This is made even clearer in John 12:15, where the words of Zechariah 9:9 are quoted: “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming, sitting on an ass’s colt.”
“Your King is coming, sitting on an ass’s colt” – This is a description of Christ’s first coming. When, however, we turn to His second coming, we have a very different description: “they will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory” (Mark 13:26).
If we are to avoid being bogged down in this earthly world, which is passing away, we must never lose sight of this glorious fact – Jesus is coming again.
Soon after Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, some Greeks came to Philip with this request: “Sir, we wish to see Jesus” (John 12:22).
This is a prayer which we also can pray: “Open our eyes, Lord. We want to see Jesus.” Seeing Jesus involves both a backward look and a forward look. We look back to His first coming. we look forward to His second coming. If we are to see Jesus as he really is, we must not only look back to His first coming. We must also look ahead to His second coming in power and glory. Jesus is not simply a figure from ancient history. He is the King of glory, the King who is coming in all the glory of His heavenly and eternal Kingdom.
Why do we want to see Jesus? What do we see when we look at Jesus? – These are two very important questions. They are questions we must ask whenever we pray, “Open our eyes, Lord. We want to see Jesus.”
Why do we want to see Jesus?
Is it just a matter of historical curiosity – we want to learn more about an important figure from the past? Surely, there is more to it than that. Do we, on the other hand, want to learn about His second coming, and lose ourselves in daydreaming about heaven? Jesus does not want to draw us away from the present, away from the challenge of living for him right now.
Why do we want to see Jesus? Here, we must strongly emphasize the call to live as disciples of Christ. Jesus does not take us back to the past to leave us there. there is no point in learning all about Jesus then, if it does not inspire us to live for Him now. Jesus does not take us on into the future to leave us there. He teaches us about His second coming, so that we might come back into the present with a renewed commitment to living for Him now.
Why do we want to see Jesus? As we think about the meaning of the prayer, “Open our eyes, Lord. We want to see Jesus”, we may find it helpful to think, for a moment, about another prayer: “Day by day, O dear Lord, three things I pray, to see Thee more clearly, to love Thee more dearly, to follow Thee more nearly, day by day.”
Why do we want to see Jesus more clearly? – It’s because we want to love Him more dearly.
Why do we want to see Jesus more clearly? – It’s because we want to follow Him more nearly.
When we pray, “Open our eyes, Lord. We want to see Jesus”, we are really saying, “Help me to love Jesus. Help me to follow Jesus.”
What do we see when we look at Jesus?
Let’s take a look at Jesus. Let’s take a look at three great statements He made. each of these statements invite us to look back at Jesus’ first coming and to look on to His second coming.John 12:23 – “The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified.”John 12:32 – “I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”John 12:31 – “Now shall the ruler of this world be cast out.”
- John 12:23
What did Jesus mean when He called Himself “the Son of man”? What did Jesus mean when He said that the hour had come for Him to be glorified?
To understand the meaning of the title, “the Son of man”, we must go back to Daniel 7:13-14 – “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”
When Jesus said that the hour had come for Him to be glorified, he was thinking of the Cross. The Apostle Paul spoke of the glory of the Cross: “God forbid that I should glory save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14). When, however, we hear Jesus speaking of the glory of the Son of man, we must not think only of Jesus’ death for us on the Cross. We must also think of the glory of the Lord’s Return. Jesus is coming again in power and glory: “they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30).
- John 12:32
What did Jesus mean when He said that He would be “lifted up”?
Jesus is speaking about the Cross – “He said this to show by what death He was to die” (John 12:33). We see Jesus lifted up on the Cross. As we dwell on this thought of Jesus being “lifted up”, our thoughts move on to Jesus, “lifted up” in heaven. The twofold meaning of Jesus’ being “lifted up” is brought out well in the fine hymn, “Man of sorrows”: “Lifted up was He to die, “It is finished” was His cry. Now, in heaven, exalted high: Alleluia! What a Saviour!”
- John 12:31
In the light of both Christ’s victorious death and His triumphant return in power and glory, we are to affirm the casting out of Satan, “the ruler of this world.” When Christ returns in power and glory, His triumph over Satan will be complete. On that Day, when the Lord returns, every knee will bow before Him and every tongue will confess that he is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11). With such a glorious hope, we need not fear the future. We can move into the future with confidence, the confidence which comes from knowing that Christ is Lord of all. we do not know what may be waiting for us in the future, but we do know this – Jesus is waiting there, and He is Lord, the Lord who loves us and is leading us on to His eternal glory. What a marvellous future is ours, as we look away from ourselves to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.