Why Ignore the Greeks?

John 12:20-22
Now there were some Greeks among those who were going up to worship at the feast;
these then came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”
Philip *came and *told Andrew; Andrew and Philip *came and *told Jesus.

I’ve wondered at this verse, because Jesus never replies to the statement to all appearances. And it is confusing since it would seem as if Jesus would want to take His message to as many people as He could. He shared the Word with the Samaritan woman at the well when His disciples were flabbergasted that He would stoop so low to talk to a Samaritan, and a woman at that.

But instead of commenting to Andrew and Phillip’s statement about some Greeks wanting to speak to Jesus, He launches into another parable about a grain of wheat and and bearing fruit.

What gives?

Then it occurred to me what time it was. It was Passion Week. Jesus’ ministry was winding down. After a couple years of walking all around the Judea and Israel preaching and healing and driving the Jewish leaders crazy, He was finally heading up to Jerusalem for the final confrontation. It was just a few days before He was going to be handed over to the powers of darkness and scourged and crucified and be killed. The time for the giving of workshops and PowerPoint presentations were over. Jesus was getting a bit more worked up with the knowledge of exactly what was in store for Him. This intensity culminated in the mighty tension as He prayed in the Garden and the sweat dripped from Him like drops of blood. Luke 22:44 Looking forward to the torture of the Roman cohort was not pleasant as you can imagine. Even during the week leading up to the crucifixion surely had an effect on the Lord as a fully human being.

So that is why He didn’t greet the Greek delegation. He just didn’t have any time left. He had little time left to do all the things He had to accomplish before His departure. He couldn’t spend it on the Greeks who loved, as Paul found out decades later, to debate lofty philosophical ideals. Jesus had more important things He needed to concentrate His energies and prayers. And He devoted them to His disciples and to final teachings in the Temple. And reading the final chapters of His soliloquies, they were stunning deliveries, golden gifts of the Spirit from the Father to ears who were so dulled by this time. I’d have loved to have been there!

[Scriptures taken from the New American Standard Bible © 1995]

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