My oldest son and I are doing a Bible study by John Piper on “Seeing & Savoring Jesus Christ.” When I first saw this study series, I was immediately drawn to it.
The past few years, my heart has really been opened more to the Lord Jesus. I have come to see Him in a deeper and richer way and have come to love Him so much more.
The more I find out about Him, the more I want to know Him.
So often as Christians, we know a lot about God. There is a difference though between knowing about God and knowing God.
Getting to know Him personally and intimately has become my life’s quest.
What does it mean though to “see” Jesus? That’s what some people asked the disciples back when Jesus physically walked this earth…
Jesus answered their questions, and His answer is something over which I have been mulling.
(He knows the answers to all of our questions — even the questions we didn’t know we had or should have.)
The Fruitful Grain of Wheat
20 Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. 21 Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”
22 Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn Andrew and Philip told Jesus.
23 But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. 24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.
There are three points being made by Jesus:
- Jesus will be glorified — He was referring to His impending crucifixion and resurrection and the glory it revealed concerning Himself.
- We must personally “die”. This is referring to the death of our old sin natures and the new life He produces in us as a result.
- We are to follow Him.
John Piper’s study, Seeing & Savoring Jesus Christ, gives some insight into this passage. He says the following quotes:
Pardon precedes and enables the pattern. We cannot follow the pattern of Jesus’ suffering without being freed from guilt and fear… We are freed from these not by His pattern but by His pardon. Not by His being our example but by His being our substitute. — John Piper
This is pivotal! We so often like the idea of doing good things. Why? Because it allows us to pretend to live independently from Him, to be “self-sufficient”.
Yet, Jesus says He is the One to be glorified. He says we are to “die” to self in order to truly live in Him. It is then that we are able to serve and follow Him.
I have always loved the verse John 3:30 that says, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” The order is significant here. As we focus on Jesus, He “increases” in our hearts and lives, and we will as a result “decrease.”
For some, this doesn’t sound appealing. It sounds like another of those religions where they call for self-denial and self-inflicted suffering.
God though never asks us to try to do the decreasing. In fact, the more we try in our own efforts to punish the flesh or get rid of it, the more it will dominate us.
The antidote to our problem of self is not more of self trying to deal with self. It’s more of Christ who transforms us more into His own image.
Jesus didn’t die to reproduce a nicer picture of what we already were. He came to reproduce a more specific image and purpose of Himself in us.
It is when we “lose” ourselves that we actually find our “true” selves — the person whom we were created to be. It is then we find completeness and wholeness.
There must be salvation by Jesus before there can be imitation of Jesus. — John Piper
So how do we see Jesus? We first must understand His work on the cross and how it relates to us. Jesus’ death and resurrection is the foundation for our relationship with Him.
As a result of Christ’s work on the cross, justice has been wrought, our redemption has been obtained, our salvation has been secured, our sanctification has begun.
As a result of Christ’s work on the cross, all that Christ is, we now have in Him. All that was previously impossible and unattainable is now not just available but guaranteed to all who accept it as their own.
Christ’s work on the cross is the foundation, but there are so many that are still living independently of this reality. Why? Because just like the following verse says, we can see the physical realm with our physical eyes, but the spiritual realm can only be seen with spiritual eyes.
13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:
‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
And seeing you will see and not perceive;
15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should[a] heal them.’[b]
16 But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear;
Our spiritual sight is not just a rational belief but a spiritual awareness of God’s glory, power, and character.
Prayer for Spiritual Wisdom
15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding[a] being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.
Faith opens our spiritual eyes to behold the spiritual reality of the spiritual realm around us. Faith is the key.
If you want to be able to recognize God more intimately, then you must first learn to trust Him.
So often we have trouble trusting God because we don’t trust Him.
Our view of God is crucial to our ability to trust Him. If we don’t trust Him, it is because we are believing lies concerning Him.
When we do trust Him and begin to recognize the truth of Who He is, our spiritual eyes begin to awaken, and we learn to recognize His Presence in our lives and His Presence in His Word. The result is an overflowing awareness of His glory, and it changes us.
Today, will you make the decision to trust the One Who secured your salvation on the cross? Will you trust the One Who gave His all so that you could have all that He is?
2 Corinthians 3:18
18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.