John 12:20-24 Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus." Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew went with Philip and they told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
Most of the time in life, if we run across an obstacle, we simply go around it, its so obvious, often we do not even think about it, especially if we know where we are going, and have been keeping an eye on the destination. If we donít really see where we are going, one obstacle can stop all progress. We may not stop, we may just find ourselves going in circles, hoping that somehow what is in our way, will by itself, move itself out of our way. If we are not careful, we can spend the rest of our life driving in circles. For after a while, going in circles becomes kind of familiar, and comfortable, and we may forget where we were once going.
In life there are two great obstacles, pride and ignorance. Often the occur together. And together, it is usually more than we can deal with. Pride sets the course, and ignorance keeps us driving in circles, and talking about how busy we are, always on the go. Pride keeps us ignorant, because we do not want to admit, we are lost, we donít know the way, and we donít know how to deal with the problem. In many ways, children are very wise, for if a child is lost, if the child has lost the way, if a child canít find the solution, they cry --pride doesnít get in their way, and the cry for help is answered, and help comes and obstacles are dealt with. As for us, tense and frustrated we keep going in circles, we have too much pride to cry, or to admit we cannot do it all ourselves.
This is the thread our text today turns on, and it seeks to give us the answer of who to deal with frustrating immovable obstacles -- such as pride and ignorance. In our text, the Greeks came to see Jesus, they asked Philip. Greeks are not Jews, and Philip didnít know if Jesus would talk to Greeks. If pride and ignorance were in his way, he would have said -- Jesus doesnít want to talk with you, Go Away! How do I know this? Because this is the answer that pride and ignorance have been giving for almost 2000 years now, and the reason why everyone isnít already Christian.
Philip didnít know, but ignorance wasnít going to stop him, so he asked Andrew, Andrew would know. But Andrew didnít know, so Andrew and Philip went and asked Jesus. Jesus answered, and the ignorance went away. There are a couple of important principals here. One, God never meant for Christians to live lives of faith all alone, but God wants us to be part of a family/community so we can share with one another, help one another, teach one another, encourage one another. Second, the reminder that where 2 or more are gathered in Jesus name, Jesus is there with them; which is why group prayer is so powerful. Finally we are reminded that God has given us His word so that we may be perfectly prepared for everything God brings into our lives. But the Word doesnít do much good locked on the pages of a closed Bible, its power is being in our hearts, on our lips, and in our lives. God has given us His Word, so that we may no longer be ignorant, but know what is God will, and Godís command, and Godís purpose for our lives. Ignorance, while a great obstacle, need not be any obstacle, because God has sent His Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth.
And all that leaves is pride. Pride could have stopped Philip, but he wasnít afraid to admit he didnít know, and ask. Pride is perhaps the greatest sin in the word today, and is the quickest way into idolatry - and the god we worship, is called self, me, Ö. Kind of silly when you really look at it, especially if we are already going in circles. So now is the time to repent of pride, and of ignorance, and humble ourselves turning from our sin, that we might receive the mercy that comes by grace through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.