Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday Lectionary Devotions: Seeing Jesus

Lectionary verse: John 12:21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. "Sir," they said, "we would like to see Jesus."

This is one of my favorite verses from the Bible because it encapsulates the work of the church. Congregations can get caught up in building programs, financial campaigns, and missional projects, but in the end, if no one comes to see Jesus, then they’re busy doing nothing.

Churches exist to bring people to Christ. They have no other function. Christians can do as much good in their lives and strengthen their community through acts of kindness and well-being, but if no one comes to Jesus, then the deeds are empty of any eternal blessings. This is why it is so important to remember that our faith is missional. We seek others to tell them about Jesus. We try to fill our sanctuaries with those seekers of Christ, not to boost our numbers, but to get more souls into heaven.

Jesus was overjoyed when Andrew and Philip brought the Greeks to meet Him. It meant that His ministry was beginning to travel around the world. That’s why He says it was for this reason that He came. His ministry was to teach the world about God. His mission was to die for the world. On both counts, He succeeded, which is why He is elated at this point in His life. God’s plan of salvation is working. God’s Kingdom is being extended outside of Palestine.

So, the challenge for all of us today is this: what am I going to do or say today that will encourage others to seek and find Jesus? Who am I going to contact or meet today that needs to hear the Gospel? What am I going to do today to extend God’s Kingdom outside of my own personal world and bring it into someone else’s life?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You have called all of us to do Your bidding and to serve Your will. Grant us the courage to express our faith today to all whom we meet. Give us opportunities to talk about You, Your church, and Your mission, so that others may seek You, too. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor at Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. he writes the presbyterian daily devotional "Heaven's Highway."

Today's image is taken from one of John's stained glass designs depicting John Bunyan's great story, "Pilgrim's Progress." The image is called "Pointing the Way."

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