8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”
9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.
If ever there was proof of the spiritual disconnect between man and G-d, Philip’s request of Jesus to show them the Father manifest is it. He’d seen Jesus’ ministry up close, and indeed, had moved in power on his own under Christ’s authority, and yet his words seemed to echo that of the Pharisees in their constant demands for proof and credentials that Jesus was who He claimed. In John 8: 57-58 we read:
57 Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?”
58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
Jesus often rebuked the Apostles for their lack of faith and their uncomprehending of His mission, yet He chose by and large unlearned and ‘average’ men; they were of no great account or consequence in Galilee save that they walked with Jesus.
So then, what differentiated them from other average men? Jesus saw that they could be reached, and would respond, and His preparation, sowing, and ministering to them took as much of His time as ministering to the sick, the possessed, and the dead.
He saw that Philip upon His departure, they would indeed be obedient and change the world, carrying the sword He brought that would cleave households in two, as it does to this day.
Yet Philip, it seems, captures Him off guard right after Thomas demonstrates another kind of misunderstanding regarding the way to Heaven and to the presence of G-d.
“Lord,” Philip says, “show us…. ”
Jesus effectively replies that basically that’s all He’s been doing, and how could Philip not know that.
Nicodemus, the secret believer among the Pharisees, knew it:
This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from G-d as a teacher, for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” (John 3:2)
This too is a revelatory statement; Nicodemus would have heard what the Pharisees were saying about Jesus when He wasn’t around. They agreed on His teachings and signs as being from G-d, yet constantly banded together to discredit Him, until He turned their questions on their heads, and made them fearful of His authority, though He lacked what they thought were the required credentials.
The multitudes followed Him because they saw, and their needs were immediate, and possibly for the most part, their motives were immediate gratification, as in the lepers He cleaned, but only one returned to thank Him.
But there were others who came to receive the Word, a word of hope and encouragement, of long-suffering love, of the forgiveness of sins for the repentant, and the promise of eternal life when earthly life was done, renewed and transformed, even glorified, and praising G-d forever.
And Philip, in earthly failing such as we all have, says “show.”
Jesus responds by telling him that He speaks what the Father gives, and the Father works through Him to perform His will in miracles as well as His word, that we might see that He is a good G-d through the works of the Son: the healing of the sick, the restoration of the dead, and the sowing of the Good News as a covenant act of grace unmerited.
And Philip, at the angel’s command, sees a chariot driver in the desert, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, changes a nation…
Therefore I pray:
Lord Jesus, since I first received You, I find that I am repentant, yet still sinful. Your apostle who was once your enemy advises us the fight is lifelong, and we go on doing what we don’t want, mixed with what You would have us do. That is lukewarm, and You have said in no uncertain terms You would spew that out.
Help our unbelief while there is yet time.
I, for one, am relieved the Father is long-suffering, and that He sent You to redeem my wretchedness, and turn it into righteousness. In my weariness of trials, I anticipate the easy yoke, yet You say persecution comes.
And I must choose, consciously, and daily, whom I will serve. It is to our shame that our humanness thinks to please everyone, that You wink at our rebellion, that You only love those of us who’ve professed our faith in You, but if You and the Father are One, and He is in You, we are admonished that to evangelize, lest the souls of the lost be on our heads, for the Father says He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.
Help transform and transport us as well, Lord, and help us to see You in each other, and know that You and the Father are indeed One. We believe on Your word, and in the signs and wonders You perform, for our own salvation, and the imparting of the Father’s Spirit to us was in itself a miracle to us, the hour we first believed.
And let us go into all the world, and open Your Word to the hungry chariot drivers.
I ask it in Your Name, knowing by faith You will grant it to us, as You have said.