James Nisbet Commentary - John 12:21 - 12:21

Online Resource Library

Commentary Index | Return to PrayerRequest.com | Download

James Nisbet Commentary - John 12:21 - 12:21

(Show All Books | Show All Chapters)

This Chapter Verse Commentaries:


‘Sir, we would see Jesus.’


I want to ask you why it is that we should desire to see Jesus.

I. He wishes us to see Him.—In the first place, because the whole tenor of Scripture makes it plain that He wishes us to do so. Surely He Who said ‘Look unto Me and be saved, all ye ends of the earth,’ and blamed His ancient people because they looked not to the Holy One of Israel—surely we cannot expect Him to have changed in this respect. Who can doubt that He will welcome everybody who strives to see Him as He is?

II. He is now on the Throne of Grace.—And the second reason why we should desire to see Jesus is that He is now seated on the throne of grace, whereas one day we must see Him seated on a throne of judgment. You may depend upon it that, if ever you and I are to die in peace, it can only be on the ground of having seen Jesus as our sanctification, righteousness, and redemption. As we pass through life we see many people and things, and these all impress our characters; but what if, when we come to the dark valley at last, we have never seen Him Who alone can safely guide us through the dark valley?

III. A view of the Saviour transforms the soul.—A third reason why we should desire to see Jesus can be stated thus: Because a view of the Saviour transforms our souls and moulds them into His likeness. ‘Beholding as in a glass’—which means, strictly speaking, one of the blurred mirrors of the ancients—‘the image of the Lord, we are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.’ As I read my Bible I find a hundred instances of the operation of this law. I find in the Old Testament when Moses had been forty days and nights in communication with Almighty God he had to veil his face before the people. If you turn to the New Testament you will find that a view of the Saviour produces moral and spiritual, as well as physical, results. How else can you account for the fact that when the rulers of the Jews beheld John and St. Peter and took note of their boldness, they immediately said, ‘These men have been with Jesus and they have learnt of Him.’ Or again, we read how Stephen cried, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.’ What was the result on the dying martyr? Unconsciously he at once framed himself to the example of the Saviour, and prayed for the forgiveness of his murderers. If you want to live the Christ life strive to see Jesus and study His character.

IV. Is the desire capable of fulfilment?—Is this desire to see Jesus capable of fulfilment in our present state, and, if so, how? The promise I want particularly to speak of is, ‘He that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father … and I will manifest Myself to him.’ ‘If a man love Me,’ said our Lord, ‘he will keep My words: My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him.’ This shows that the vision is made to the heart and soul, and it is made to the man who walks steadily in the path of obedience. Do not lose sight of the condition. We must cultivate that holiness without which, we are told, no man shall see the Lord. Each one of us has an enemy whose ceaseless object it is to hinder us from seeing Jesus. ‘The God of this world hath blinded the eyes of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ should shine into their hearts.’ What light that throws on the fact that too often our desire to see Jesus is not gratified! Do not put this matter off till a more convenient season. Seek Him earnestly—very earnestly—in the pages of His Holy Word, where He does reveal Himself, and if only you do this persistently and believingly you must succeed.

Bishop Straton.


‘My heart is night, my soul is steel,

I cannot see, I cannot feel,

For light, for heat, I must appeal

To Jesus!

‘He died, He lives, He reigns, He pleads,

There’s love in all His acts and deeds,

All, all a guilty sinner needs

In Jesus!

‘Though some should scoff and some should blame,

I’ll go, in spite of fear and shame,

I’ll go to Him, because His name

Is Jesus!’