John 14:7-11 (NIV)
“If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
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.”
Jesus knew that amazing things were in the works and were now afoot. Once Judas showed up in the garden with the temple guards to arrest Him, the disciples would quickly understand all that He had told them would happen. After His resurrection, even more would become clear. And at Pentecost, they would be empowered to understand even more, and to see how it all fit together.
But for now, He had a couple more pieces of information that they needed to have, that they would be able to ponder over the next few days when it seemed like the world was ending. The first was that Jesus Himself was much more than a prophet or a divinely inspired teacher. He was God in the flesh, so identical in essential being to the Father that to see Him was to see God, to hear His voice was to hear the voice of the Father speaking, and to be in relationship with Him was to have intimate knowledge of the Almighty Creator God.
It was not like Jesus had never said any such thing before. In fact, John records two instances where He proclaimed this truth so clearly that the Jews tried to kill Him (John 5:16-18; 8:58-59). But this was still a huge piece of information to try to digest. Philip didn’t get it at all. If Jesus could only show them the Father, then he was sure that he would be able to understand.
That was when Jesus said it so clearly that there was no nuance, no possibility of misunderstanding. By looking at Jesus, Philip and the rest were looking straight at the Father. Jesus and God lived in such continuous, eternal, and intimate communion that their beings overlapped. The miracles Jesus did were miracles that the Father was doing. The words that He spoke were God’s words that He was speaking to them. The disciples didn’t need some kind of fresh revelation to see God; they simply needed to open their eyes and look a little closer at Jesus.
Father, we sometimes forget that Jesus was “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being” (Hebrews 1:3 NIV), You in the flesh. It’s a concept that is as slippery for us as it was for His disciples to get hold of. But it is the truth. If we seek you, we must first seek Jesus, the only way to You, and the one who fully reveals You to us, so that we know who we are seeking in the first place. Lord, please help this truth to work its way from my head down to my heart, so that I can help others to really know it, too! Amen.
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