Read John 12:20-33.

Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” (John 12:20-21)


You take a pilgrimage toward Jerusalem for the festival. It’s been a long trip, but you are drawn. Now you are getting close.

Noise. Commotion. A great crowd. Chatter. Talk of someone raised from the dead, someone who had been in a tomb for four days.

A hubbub.

You hear talk of someone called Jesus. You hear stories. Amazing things.

You want to see this Jesus. You press through the crowds. You search.

Your desire grows. Not just desire, need. There is nothing more important to you than to see Jesus. Everything depends on it. But what will it take? What will it cost you?

You find someone who knows him. You ask him. “How can I see Jesus?” He leads you in the right direction. He asks him for you.

Through the crowd he looks straight at you. Seeming to speak directly to you, he answers your request…with non sequiturs?

“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

“Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world keep it for eternal life.”

“Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also.” But he appears to be headed in a bad direction! “Father, glorify your name.”

Then it happens. The world shakes. A voice from heaven speaks.

I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.

Everyone is shocked. What was that? Where did that voice come from? Who could speak with such a deep, rich voice? But the voice came from the sky.

Many around you can’t process the experience. They say, “It must have been thunder.”

But you heard the voice. You saw the man. And it was a life-changing experience.


Now that you are back in your home town, you reflect. There was something about that man that you loved. And the voice. The voice from heaven. The glory!

You have heard the stories about the events that took place after you left—that the man was executed. That he didn’t resist, went to the cross willingly. That his friends claimed he came back from the dead.

You reflect. You loved that man. You can’t stop thinking about that whole episode. What in the world would lead someone to walk willingly to the cross?

You search for reports of the things he said while he was living and teaching and leading. You ponder them eagerly.

The Voice from Heaven drives it home. You consider how to respond to that love, that glory. How to live.


Going out for drinks with your friends just doesn’t have the appeal to you that it once did. The more the Lord reveals to you, the more your life changes, the more the distance between you and your friends, your life, grows.

Your friends criticize you. They don’t understand. They reject you. It occurs to you that this is like the reaction you saw to Jesus’ teaching and life.

You spend time with the one you love, the glorious one. You replay the sights and sounds of your pilgrimage in your imagination. You talk with him internally.

You have found a few others who also love him, and spending time with them is encouraging, joyful, wonderful. Deep fellowship. Communion.

Your love has its ups and downs, but it is generally growing. It peaks when you spend time with him, away from the crowd. And with the love comes something else. Knowledge. The one you love reveals something of himself.


Your life has become one of desire. All that you do, all that you see, leads back to him. What else is there to love? What else is there to desire?

You are astonished that the Lord gives such gifts to one such as you. How can that glory make its home in the mess you have made of yourself? But when the one you love visits, you are transported. You no longer think of yourself at all. You see. You love. You live.

You love him, but he fills you with love for others. You love your former friends, your neighbors, those you see in the street, even your enemies. Sometimes they speak with you, ask questions, ask for advice. Sometimes you have a word for them, you pray for them. Sometimes they are changed.

Every day, pray for more love, that you may see Jesus.

Categories: Meditation

Harry Plantinga

Harry Plantinga is a professor of computer science at Calvin University and the director of and