He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set
eternity in the hearts of men … Ecclesiastes 3:11

Several years ago I had the life-changing experience of reading the book entitled Eternity in Their Hearts by Don Richardson. The author, a Canadian missionary and scholar, examined primitive groups from around the world and concluded God has prepared people to receive the message of Jesus Christ. While He specifically picked the Hebrew people with whom to reveal Himself, He also put this deep quest in all our hearts that says there is Something more! Richardson tells the story of Epimenides, an ancient prophet from Crete, who built an altar to ‘an unknown God’ in Athens, Greece. Later on, Paul would use it as a starting point to explain the Good News of Jesus Christ. Various groups around the world have in their culture story that they are waiting for a messenger who will bring them the holy book so they can be reconciled with God. In various cultural mythologies, there are often bridges to the story of redemption, like the Peace Child of the Sawi people in New Guinea which led them from being treacherous cannibals to followers of Christ. The sermon from John 12:12-26 this last Sunday prompted my recall of this book.

Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. They came to Philip..with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went to tell Andrew, and Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.” John 12:20-22

John may have mentioned their ethnicity because he knew that Jesus’ sacrifice was for Gentiles as well as Jews. These Greeks were probably what was called God-fearing and it was not surprising that they would want to attend the Passover feast. Why did they approach Philip? We don’t really know except that his name is Greek in origin, perhaps that gave them some familiarity. They must have heard about Jesus and perhaps had seen the Triumphal entry. But we do know that God had placed eternity in their hearts and they wanted to see Jesus.

The scriptures do not tell us if they actually saw or met Jesus face to face. We can only surmise about whether that occurred. Where John left this part of the story was with Philip and Andrew. In every instance, the message of the gospel needs Philips and Andrew to lead people to see Jesus. God has given us the unique humbling responsibility to be His messengers to lead people to see Jesus, to lead them to the deepest answers of their hearts. We don’t have to be Biblical scholars or have all the answers, we just need to be available to Him. My grandfather once wrote, “When people hear you talk, does it make them think about God? When people see how you act, does it make them think about God? When people see how you serve, does it make them think about God?”

And then, are you ready to tell how His story changed your story?

“How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news.”
Romans 10:15b

Reflect: As you think through the events of this story, why do you suppose John did not tell what happened with the Greeks? When you think about being a messenger of Good News, what is your reaction? How does it impact you to realize that God placed eternity in the hearts of everyone all over the world?

Francie Overstreet

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