“They came to Philip… and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus’” (John 12:21)
“Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:12)
I often wonder whether the Greeks who chased after Philip ever could have imagined what they were getting themselves into when they decided they wanted to see Jesus. While the scripture tells us next to nothing about them – it’s perfectly reasonable to think that they were groupies. Think the functional equivalent of a bunch of teenagers chasing after Justin Bieber: part curiosity, part adoration, a little bit obsessive, but by no means expecting a life change.
But a life change is what they ended up getting – whether they were looking for it or not. “Whoever sees me sees God, who sent me,” Jesus says later in this discourse from John’s gospel. Yes, those groupies ended up seeing God. And then, in the gospel appointed for today, Jesus says, “the one who believes in me will do greater works than mine.” Now, they’re not just fans. Not just casual observers. They’re people with real work to do. All of that, just from longing to catch sight of the man that they’d heard so much about. While the scripture never explicitly tells us what happened to those folks who just wanted a glimpse of Jesus, I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to imagine their transformation.
So if a bunch of folks who started out as groupies ended up becoming missionaries who changed the world, then why don’t we? Because, let’s face it – we’ve now been steadfastly observing Easter for twenty-seven days since Easter Sunday – we’re more than curious observers or casual onlookers. We’re true believers. Greater works are on the horizon – as Mother Teresa famously once said, “together, we will do something beautiful for God.”
Every Christian is called to be a missionary – not just a casual onlooker. As you go through the day, ask yourself: “how am I being called to step up?” How are you being transformed from a casual onlooker into a missionary?