Following the Leader

Dennis Voskuil

READ : John 12:20-26

Sir, we wish to see Jesus. (v. 21)

After being introduced as a guest preacher, I positioned myself behind a large wooden pulpit. Engraved there, and visible only to the preacher, was a sign bearing this request of the Gentiles when they approached Philip: “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip and Andrew brought the Gentiles to Jesus. He warmly received his visitors and spoke to them of his approaching death and burial using the image of a grain of wheat, which must first die before it could produce new life. Likewise, he would die and be buried so that a bountiful harvest of new life could spring forth. Jesus then declared that anyone following him should expect the same for themselves: “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (v. 25).

This passage reminds me of two essential responsibilities of Christian leaders. First, like Philip, I must bring others, especially those on the margins of our religious culture, to meet Jesus Christ. And second, I must be willing to follow Jesus even when I am called to suffer and sacrifice for the sake of the gospel. This is the stark reality of Christian service: if we love our life more than we love Jesus, we will lose it; if we are able to give up our life for Jesus’ sake, we will keep it forever.

As Christians this is what it means to follow the leader.


O Lord, like Philip may we have the privilege of introducing people to Jesus Christ.