Greek To Me — What Herb Thinks

A passage of Scripture has troubled me for years. I don’t believe anything in God’s Word was placed there without purpose. However, in this passage, something is said that appears to have no reason. I want you to notice how John tells us it was certain Greeks who asked to see Jesus. And, when Jesus learns about them, Jesus immediately begins thinking about His approaching death — as if the visiting Greeks were a sign. John records:

Now there were some Greeks among those who were going up to worship at the feast; these then came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip came and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip came and told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (John 12:20-23 New American Standard Bible).

Like I said, I have wondered long and hard about this passage. This morning an idea came to me. You see, when the Roman Empire replaced the Greek, Rome didn’t destroy the rich Greek culture. Instead, Rome embraced it. As a result, Greek slaves began to educate the Roman children and, in time, the Greek language and knowledge became the language and knowledge of all educated Romans.

That explains why the Apostle Paul told the Roman Christians:

I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish (Romans 1: 14).

So, when the word of God tells us certain Greeks came to visit Jesus, it was like saying Jesus was being paid a visit by the academic religious leaders of His day. And, as a result, Jesus knew His time on earth would soon be running out.

Have you ever discussed Scripture with someone who uses their education to win the argument? Their reasoning is, since they have a degree and you don’t, they’re right and your wrong. Friends, there is no short-cut, or system, to understanding the Bible. The only way someone can come to an accurate understanding of God’s word is by prayerfully reading it. And the more years of reading it the better.

That’s not to say education is bad. On the contrary, when properly used, education is a great asset. In fact, I believe one of the reasons God picked the Apostle Paul was because of his advanced education. However, when education becomes a weapon of enslavement instead of a tool of the truth, it becomes our greatest enemy.

That’s why John wrote:

Now there were some Greeks among those who were going up to worship at the feast; these then came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.

And, that’s why Jesus said:

“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”

— Herb Peters
4/28/05