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Sunday Devotion: 21 March 2021, Fifth Sunday in Lent

Sunday Devotions

Seeing Jesus, here and now

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Written by clergy and lay people across our Diocesan community, ‘Sunday Devotions’ is a column of short reflections based on a Lectionary reading of the day, suitable for small group discussion or personal use.

Main readings: Jeremiah 31.31-34; Psalm 119.9-16; Hebrews 5.5-14; John 12.20-33

Supplementary Readings: Psalm 71.15-24; Galatians 3.1-9; Numbers 21.4-9; Psalm 39; Mark 15.21-41

“They [some Greeks] came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ ” (John 12.21)

When volunteering on the Bethsaida archaeological dig while studying theology at St Francis College, I wanted to see Jesus of Nazareth whom I had met through scripture and life’s experiences – Jesus who lived and breathed, made friends and enemies, ate and celebrated, healed and restored, and slept and wept in Galilee and the surrounding regions. Digging through layers of human history became a pathway to seeing Jesus, God in human flesh, in new ways.

The Greeks, who asked to see Jesus during a volatile time in both Jesus’ ministry and the political and religious life in Palestine, came to see Philip, who went with Andrew to tell Jesus. They found Jesus at a pivotal moment – “the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (John 12.23) – wrestling with the imminence of his death. ‘Seeing’ Jesus can be a journey of encounters through different situations and seasons of life.

Seeing Jesus, they encountered a challenge: “serve me” (John 12.26). During Lent, we reflect on our own journey and relationship with God and perhaps how we might lead others to see Jesus, despite, and sometimes through, our weaknesses. How might you listen more attentively to the ways in which people are asking to see Jesus? How might you respond?

Living to serve Jesus means helping others see Jesus. We’re best placed to do that when we listen attentively, and can locate Jesus in our own lives when someone asks the way.

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