The Spice Box “Sir, we would see Jesus”
By Sharon Robertson, Lt. Col.
Once upon a time (it seems millennia ago) a cadet stood for the first time in a Salvation Army pulpit at the San Francisco Harbor Light Corps. She was new to this Army of ours, still feeling her way through a foggy tunnel of tradition, unfamiliar practices and strange terminology. Suddenly a church was called a “corps,” a member was a “soldier,” a hymnbook was a “songbook,” and lay leaders had strange titles like “sergeant-major” and “League of Mercy secretary.”
As the cadet stood trembling with apprehension over the great responsibility of preaching to the crowd of hungry men who were more interested in the meal that was to come than the meeting that came first, her gaze dropped to the pulpit, and there she saw something that was to change her approach to reaching forever. A bit of paper was taped to the pulpit; on it was printed in large letters the message, “Sir, we would see Jesus.”
Perhaps she was a slow learner; perhaps she had simply missed out on the most important part of her call. No matter, now she understood the most critical thing she could do for anyone, ever, was to introduce a man, a woman, a child to Jesus. Forget the fancy words, the intellectual exercises, the clever devices, the dramatic delivery; they had not come to listen to a sermon. God had brought them to that place in that moment to meet Jesus, and it was my (oops, her) mission to introduce them to him, as clearly and simply as she knew how.
“Sir, we want to see Jesus.” The Greeks who approached Phillip were apparently proselytes to the Jewish faith and had come to Jerusalem in order to worship and celebrate the Passover festival. Certainly they had heard of Jesus; perhaps they had even been present and witnessed his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Whether out of mere curiosity or a sense of spiritual need, they wanted to see him. To that end, they spoke to Phillip, one who knew Jesus personally. Makes sense.
Phillip wasn’t sure what to do about these foreigners who wanted to see Jesus. Was it appropriate? Why would Greek-speaking strangers come looking for the master? The chief priests were known to be conspiring against Jesus; could it be that these men were mercenaries, hired to do him harm?
Phillip went and told Andrew; they decided the right thing to do was to tell Jesus.
Jesus was known for his approachability. His invitation to all had been clear: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:28-30 NIV).
To Jesus, no one is a stranger. If the Greeks desired to come to him, they were welcome. If they wanted to become his disciples, they were welcome, and God would honor them for their decision.
“Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me” (John 12:23-26 NLT).
And so it is our sole mission: to introduce the lost to him, Jesus Christ, crucified, risen and coming again. We are to study, we are to pray, we are to prepare, we are to preach—not that we ourselves might be recognized, but because those to whom we speak have come, saying,
“Sir, we would see Jesus.”