Seeing the Father

I am supremely happy that God did not choose for me to live in Biblical times, simply because I have a nagging suspicion I would have ended up in Holy Writ looking as unfavorably as some that we have read about most recently. First we have Peter demonstrating his presumption, next Thomas his doubts, and now Philip his lack of faith. Each one of these disciples bring their humanness to Scripture!

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.” (John 14:8-11)

Our Lord’s Words to Philip seem to be full of discouragement. Certainly Philip should have known better. It appears that in every age there is a natural wish of man for some extraordinary revelation of the Father, an earnest desire for further light, a yearning for the miraculous. “Show us the Father” was Philip’s plea, yet here this request reveals not only the weakness of his faith but also the lack of his understanding of God’s way of revealing himself. To see with earthly eyes is one thing, but to see with eyes of faith is quite another. The writer of Hebrews tells us:

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” -John 17:20-23

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” (Hebrews 11:1-2)

Faith is not only having a surety and certainty regarding unseen realities and hopes, it is also to be the lens by which we are to view all of life’s experiences. It is not a blind hope; it is a firm grounding in the truth of the Lord Jesus. When Jesus was on earth, he prayed:

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (John 17:25-26)

Jesus tells His disciples to believe Him– based on the credibility and reliability of His Word and on His miraculous Works. These two convincing truths point to the fact that to know Jesus is to know the Father as well.

Christ’s miracles were proof of His divine mission. His miracles–the finger marks of God–things too hard for man to do. Only God can make the blind miraculously see, the dead rise, and the insane sane. These signs were given both for the conviction of the unregenerate and for the confirmation of the faith of His disciples. Indisputable proofs–who but God could do such things as these?

“Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” (John 10:37-38)

Then Jesus cried out, “When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”
-John 12:44-46

Take It to Heart

There is a close and mysterious unity between the three persons of the Trinity with which our finite minds can perhaps grasp but only a glimmer. How very little we realize the fullness of this unity! Jesus taught His disciples many things when He walked on this earth and of these, certain mighty truths simply passed right over their heads. It was not until afterwards that His words were remembered and became clearer.

“Want of trust is at the root of almost all our sins and all our weaknesses, and how shall we escape it but by looking to Him and observing His faithfulness. The man who holds God’s faithfulness will not be foolhardy or reckless, but will be ready for every emergency.” (Hudson Taylor)