In Seeing Jesus, We’ve Seen the Father1
Of the twelve disciples of Jesus, we probably know the least about Philip. His name figures prominently in John 14 when he makes this request of Jesus: “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us” (John 14:8). Jesus responds with the famous words: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Continue reading . . .
Of the twelve disciples of Jesus, we probably know the least about Philip. His name figures prominently in John 14 when he makes this request of Jesus: “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us” (John 14:8). Jesus responds with the famous words: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).
I suspect that Philip was a bit impatient with our Lord in view of what had just transpired, as recorded for us in John 14:7. Jesus declared in v. 7 that they had already seen the Father and that they know him. Philip is confused. “When did I ever see the Father? How can you say that I know him? I want to. In fact, I want it now.”
It’s as if he says to Jesus: “I don’t want to wait until you leave and prepare a place for us with you and your Father forever. I want it now! My heart hurts now! I want relief from this distress and confusion in my soul now! Show me the Father now! If you’ll do that, I’ll stop complaining. It will be enough for me.”
To which Jesus then makes this astounding reply:
“Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).
In other words, yet another reason Jesus gives for why they should trust him and not be troubled in their hearts (John 14.1) is that the Father, who has a place for each of them in his eternal presence, is already with them. He’s right here, says Jesus, in me.
They really do know the Father. They just don’t recognize it yet. They haven’t fully grasped that in knowing Jesus they have come to know the Father. In Jesus God has made himself known: definitively, gloriously, and visibly.
Seven times, in vv. 7-11, Jesus says virtually the same thing over and over again. I and my Father are so much one in nature and character and purpose that my presence is the Father’s presence. Look at how repetitive Jesus is:
“If you had known me, you would have known my Father also” (v. 7a).
“From now on you do know him and have seen him” (v. 7b).
“Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip?” (v. 9a).
“Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (v. 9b).
“Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?” (v. 10a).
“The Father who dwells in me does his works” (v. 10b).
“I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (v. 11a).
So, if you’ve ever wondered what the God the Father thinks about death, look at Jesus, weeping at the tomb of Lazarus.
If you’ve ever wondered what God the Father thinks about your sin, look at Jesus, dying in your place so that you might be forgiven.
If you’ve ever wondered how God the Father feels about social outcasts who are shunned by everyone in society, look at Jesus reaching out and actually touching lepers and making them clean. Look at Jesus sitting down at a meal with prostitutes, sending them on their way forgiven, full of joy, and for the first time in their lives, feeling clean.
If you’ve ever wondered how God the Father thinks about religious hypocrisy, listen to Jesus denounce the Pharisees in righteous anger.
If you’ve ever wondered what God the Father thinks about disease and paralysis and blindness and deafness, watch as Jesus heals all who are brought to him.
If you’ve ever doubted whether or not God the Father loves you, listen to Jesus in John 13:2 who loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the very end.
If you’ve ever questioned how low God the Father might go in serving you, look at Jesus on his knees washing the filthy feet of his disciples.
If you’ve wanted to know how God the Father feels about exploiting religion for personal monetary gain, watch Jesus as he explodes in the Temple, turning over tables, and rebuking those who turned the house of prayer into a den of thieves.
If you’ve wondered what God the Father is like in the depths of his heart, look closely at the mercy of Jesus, look at his kindness and authority and power and compassion and joy and peace. Look at and listen and watch and meditate on all that Jesus is, says, and does.
“Philip, Mark, Barbara, Sally, Dave, Abigail, Sam, Megan, Donna, whatever your name, whatever your need, listen once more to Jesus when he says: ‘Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.’”