Monday Reverb – 18March2024




Part ONE – Listening to Home Office




See the Manager
Jeff Broadnax

Have you ever had a sour experience in a restaurant or retail store that prompted you to say, “I want to see the manager”? Maybe you felt the server was out of line or perhaps you had a disagreement at the return desk. When we say, “I want to see the manager,” we are appealing to a higher authority to settle our problem. We have had enough, and we want to be satisfied.

Been there? Reflect with me for a moment on that experience. When we say, “I want to see the manager,” we don’t really mean that we want to see the manager. What we are really saying is “I want to see things go my way” or “I want to see my complaint settled in my favor.” We mean to be satisfied. We most likely have never met the manager or know anything about her.

Now, consider this. Do we treat Jesus like the manager of a store when our experience turns sour? Is our desire to “see Jesus” really a desire in our heart to get our own way? When we are honest with ourselves, I think we would have to admit there are many times our desire to “see Jesus” is really our desire to get our way, on our terms.

It’s OK to confess that. The Lord already knows, and he knows how to change our hearts. In fact, that’s one of the reasons Jesus was sent to us. He came so we could indeed “see” him by the power of the Holy Spirit, and in seeing him come to know him and his Father who sent him.

That’s why we can pray with boldness this prayer recorded by David who went from seeking his own way to desiring to see and be transformed by God: desired to see and be transformed by God:

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.  Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.”  
Psalm 51:10-12 (NRSV)

When we really “see Jesus” and see his Father which he reveals by the Spirit, we find that the desires of our heart are satisfied or at least settled in him. We come to want to “see Jesus” because he, and the revelation of his Father, is beautiful to behold. This is when our desire grows to want to know him personally for who he is and not as a means to get our own way.

May our Father give you eyes to see how he is working even in your sour experiences and fill you with joy as you walk with Jesus.

I’m Jeff Broadnax, Speaking of Life.

The theme for this week is being made right with God.

The selected passages are Psalm 51:1-12 • Jeremiah 31:31-34 • Hebrews 5:5-10 • John 12:20-33

  • In our call to worship Psalm, David asks for a right heart and spirit within him.
  • In Jeremiah, the prophet gives a prophetic word regarding the time when God will write his laws on our hearts and forgive us for all wickedness.
  • In Hebrews, Jesus is presented to us as the great high priest and the source of our salvation.
  • And in John’s gospel, Jesus declares that he will draw all people to himself.

How Do You See Jesus?

John 12:20-33 (NRSVUE)

In the movie, Talladega Nights, Will Ferrell’s character, Ricky Bobby, has a scene where he is with his family at the dinner table and decides to say grace. He starts his prayer by addressing “Tiny Baby Jesus.” He is stopped by his father-in-law, who tries to remind him that Jesus is a grown man with a beard. Ricky Bobby answers by saying, “I don’t care. This is the Jesus that like!”

Don’t we have a preference for how we want to see Jesus? The truth is, Jesus is committed to revealing himself in ways that may be foreign to us. When we look at Jesus, we see someone who is way beyond our preferences and prejudices. In this story in John, we have some Greeks who come to see Jesus. And like us, they had a preference for how they wanted to see him, just like the Jews had misguided preferences as well.

So, what was it that the Greeks were hoping to see? What were their motivations? Were they wanting to see a spectacle or a demonstration of power? Or perhaps see something they were hoping to criticize or discredit? Or maybe they were hopeful that Jesus had something that would be meaningful to their lives? We don’t know the answer for sure, but we can look at some strong possibilities. Through this text, we might even reexamine how we see Jesus as well.

This is the fifth Sunday of Easter preparation. Near the end of our text today, we will see where Jesus is also preparing the hearts of his hearers for the time when he will be lifted up and exalted. So let us read John 12:20-33.

John 12:20-33

Some Greeks Wish to See Jesus   

20 Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”  22 Philip went and told Andrew, then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus

    • Why do you think the Greeks wanted to see Jesus? 
    • Who received the initial request to see Jesus? 
    • Who delivered the request to Jesus?   
    • Why did Philip tell Andrew?  Why didn’t he go straight to Jesus?


23 Jesus answered them, The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified24 Very truly, I tell you, 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

    • Which “hour” had come?
    • How do you think Jesus was to be glorified?
    • What are the two options for the grain?
    • What must happen for it to bear much fruit?

25 Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  26 Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.  

    • Which life is Jesus speaking of?   
    • What are the two options for those who have life?
    • What do you think it means for someone to “hate” his life in this world?
    • What, based on the passage, is hating life linked to (associated with)?
    • What does serving Jesus involve?
    • What will happen to those who serve Jesus?
    • How do you think the Father will honour those who serve Jesus?
    • Based on Jesus response, why do you think the Greeks wanted to see Jesus?

Jesus Speaks about His Death   

27 “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say: ‘Father, save me from this hour’?  No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour.  

    • Why was Jesus troubled?
    • What “hour” might Jesus have been saved from?  See John 13:1
    • Why wouldn’t Jesus ask His Father to save Him?


28 Father, glorify your name.”  Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”  29 The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder.  Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 

    • Whose name did Jesus want glorified?
    • How had it been glorified in the past?
    • How would it be glorified in the future?

30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine.  31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out.  32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people[a] to myself.”  33 He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.    

    • In what way was the “voice” for the sake of the people?
    • In what way do you think the world would have been judged at that time?
    • Has the ruler of the world been driven out, as Jesus said he would be?
    • If so, how was he?  If not yet, then when?
    • How do you understand “lifted up”?
    • When was Christ lifted up?
    • What did Jesus say would happen when He was lifted up?
    • How do you understand that?


  1. 12.32  Other ancient authorities read all things


It’s interesting that Jesus answers the request to “see” him with a story about being “unseen.”  As if to say, “You are thinking about this all wrong. What you are wanting to see is the opposite of who I am.” Why do I say that? Because The Greeks were known for seeking knowledge or wisdom.  They were brilliant philosophers.  I think they were hoping to see some eloquent and persuasive orator teach some high-minded ideas.

The Apostle Paul would later say of the Greeks, “Jews seek a sign, but Greeks seek wisdom.” If we go back in the gospel account, we see Jesus cleansing the temple.  The Jews then asked Jesus for a sign to prove he had the authority to disrupt their profit-making scheme.  And again, Paul equates the message of Jesus as weakness (for the Jews) and foolishness (for the Greeks).  Because a savior who dies is considered anything but strong, and certainly not wise.

So, Jesus doesn’t give his Greek inquisitors the satisfaction they were looking for.  Instead, he prophesies regarding his own death, and subsequently, the way to life for all of us.   N.T. Wright, Anglican Bishop and New Testament scholar, said:

Jesus’ death will be like sowing a seed in the ground.  It will look like a tragedy .… In fact, it will be a triumph; the triumph of God’s self-giving love, the love that looks death itself in the face and defeats it by meeting it voluntarily, on behalf of not just of Israel, but of the whole world, the world represented by those Greeks.1   

Losing your life, then, equals saving it.   If you seek to preserve your old life and hold on to your positions, pride, prejudices, and privilege, then anything you have gained will avail you nothing.  Jesus turns the whole idea of life on its head.  He bypasses the external trappings that we equate with a successful life and goes to the very core of our hearts.  A life that is dead to the old self is one where we truly have something to give others.

Our problem is that dying doesn’t come easy to us.  That’s why I think Jesus uses this as a metaphor.  We do everything in our power to stay alive physically at all costs.  But we are just as equally invested in breathing life into our need for security and significance.

Consider the parables of the lost coin, the lost sheep, and the prodigal son.  The lost coin was a dead asset.  The lost sheep was a dead sheep, and the prodigal son was as good as dead.  These are not parables meant to communicate to us to dedicate our best efforts or to try to achieve moral acceptability.  This is all about the grace of a loving God.  The grace of the seeker, the One who finds us as dead.  We were never meant to find ourselves.

How often have we heard about those that have reached the pinnacle of success ending their lives through drugs or suicide?  Rock stars, actors, comedians, models, politicians and even billionaires.  These are examples of people who the world thinks have made it.  They should be happy, right?  They are rich, they are famous, they are beautiful, etc…  But, according to Jesus, if that’s all you have, you’ve missed everything.

And yet, the world doesn’t like to consider all this talk about dying and losing.  It may sound something like this: “Don’t tell us about dying and losing.  We want to be winners!  You’ve got to look out for #1, Baby!  If you ain’t first, you’re last.  I’m the captain of my own ship, the master of my own destiny, and in the end, I will sing right along with Ole Blue Eyes, that I did it my way!”  Ego, pride, arrogance, we all deal with it to some extent.  But this is not how we see Jesus.  We see him laying down his life, giving up his rights so that we could have everything.

The world is skeptical, and it is hoping to see something that is authentic, something resembling spiritual depth.  They yearn to be a part of something that has real value and bravely answers the questions to their greatest needs.  A question to ask ourselves is what are they seeing of Jesus in our congregations?  Are we offering something beyond the latest trends in how to do church or things that we think might impress a world that already has all the gadgets?

So, Jesus is not interested in merely improving our lives or enhancing our well-run existing programs for living.  He’s looking to give us new life – life of his own making.  A life that is fulfilling and everlasting.  Jesus doesn’t need our old lives; he needs our death.  He doesn’t need our talents and abilities and our smarts and dashing good looks.  He desires our dependence on the Holy Spirit, to dwell in confidence and assurance that his life is being lived to the fullest in us.

Robert Capon, American Episcopal priest and author, wrote:

“Jesus saves losers, and only, losers.  He raises the dead, and only, the dead.  And he rejoices more over those who know themselves as the lost, the least, the last, the little and the lame, than over all the self-proclaimed winners in the world.  That is what our losing race of ours needs to hear, even though it can’t stand the thought of it.”2   

We don’t have to hold so tightly to the things that we think we can’t live without or that we think define us or give us meaning.

“Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also.  Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.  Now my soul is troubled.  And what should I say: ‘Father, save me from this hour’?  No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour.  Father, glorify your name.”  Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”  The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder.  Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”  Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine.” (John 12:26-30 NRSVUE)

In verse 26, Jesus mentions servanthood; to serve is to follow Jesus.  And what did we see Jesus doing throughout the gospels?  Serving.  This again, is the antithesis of a life lived for self.  Servanthood naturally comes to those who have embraced the death of their old lives and the acknowledgment of the new life they live in Christ.  We see as he sees, we live as he lives, and we serve as he serves.

God is glorified by Jesus, who in his humanity chose to live a selfless life which revealed the Father, not in asserting dominating displays of power or in the brilliance of philosophical ideas, but in humble service and with the invitation to commune with him.  This is how we are to see Jesus.

Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out.  And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”  He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die. (John 12:31-33 NRSVUE)

Jesus finishes by talking about what will happen in his death, that when he is lifted up from the earth, he will draw all people to himself. 1 Corinthians 15:22 says, “For as in Adam all died, so in Christ, all will be made alive.”  This is one of the bedrock scriptures for believers.

John has Jesus quoting this earlier in his conversation with Nicodemus:

“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so, the Son of Man must be lifted up.”

This refers to the story found in Numbers 21 where the Israelites were instructed to look at the serpent on the pole (representing death), to the very thing that would kill them, in order to live.  Jesus, in his death, is the real cure that we must acknowledge and see to truly find life.

Let us see Christ for who he is and let us see ourselves as passing from death into his wonderful lifeLet us live by the unselfish life of the Spirit as we seek to open the eyes of the world to see Jesus as he truly is, not through our displays of power or our brilliance, but in the spirit of service.

T. Wright: “John for Everyone, Part 2” (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2004)
Robert Capon: “Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus” (Eerdmans 1985)

Small Group Discussion Questions

  • In what ways do you now see Jesus differently than you used to see Jesus?
  • Why do you think so many believe that having success, money and fame will make them feel happy and whole?
  • In John 12:26, Jesus brings up being a servant.  In what ways do you think we are asked to serve?
  • How do we practice selfless living?
  • How might that look for you, personally?


Part TWO – Listening for The Holy Spirit 


A Prayer of Repentance

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

51 Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight—
That You may be found just [a]when You speak,
And blameless when You judge.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.

Read full chapter


  1. Psalm 51:4 LXX, Tg., Vg. in Your words

A New Covenant

31 “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, [a]though I was a husband to them, says the Lord33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their [b]hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

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  1. Jeremiah 31:32 So with MT, Tg., Vg.; LXX, Syr. and I turned away from them
  2. Jeremiah 31:33 Lit. inward parts

A Priest Forever

So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him:

“You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.”

As He also says in another place:

“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek”;

who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, 10 called by God as High Priest “according to the order of Melchizedek,”

Read full chapter

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 [a]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.

Jesus Predicts His Death on the Cross

27 “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify Your name.”

Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”

29 Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to Him.”

30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 And I, if I am [b]lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” 33 This He said, signifying by what death He would die.

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  1. John 12:24 Lit. fruit
  2. John 12:32 Crucified


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