Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.”
On that dark night, Philip was sure that troubled hearts would be satisfied if only they could see God. “Show us the Father”, Philip asks Jesus, “and we will be satisfied.” Philip was certain that an appearance by God would surely satisfy their needs at that urgent, frightful hour. Like Philip, people throughout the ages have longed to see God as He really is. Philip echoes Moses, who in the darkest days of the Exodus desert wanderings, asks God: “Show me your glory” (Exodus 33:8). Perhaps Philip has in mind the kind of experience that Isaiah had on that troubling day in the temple when he “saw the LORD sitting on a throne, high and lofty” (Isaiah 6:1). Who of us in life’s dark hour has not longed to see God, to reach out and touch Him, and know that He is real! Yes Philip! We’re with you in this! Show us the Father and “we will be satisfied.”
For Philip to make such a request of Jesus reveals the exalted view he has of Jesus, that Jesus could grant such a request. But Philip’s request also reveals his still infant, searching faith, and failure to recognize the Father’s presence in Jesus. He has yet to grasp Jesus words spoken to them earlier: “Whoever sees me sees him who sent me” (John 12:45).
Jesus explains His oneness with Father God as a mutual indwelling: “I am in the Father and the Father is in me”. While such words stagger and defy comprehension, they reveal the oneness of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In fact, Jesus’ oneness with the Father is so complete that the Father actually speaks through Jesus: “The words I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works”. The Father lives in Jesus, and Jesus lives in Him.
Jesus’ moment by moment reliance on the Father is the same reliance into which He longs to draw us. Just like He lives His life in the Father, so He wants us to live our lives in Him. Like Jesus, we are to rely on the Father to give us the words to say, as well as to accomplish His work through us In time, Philip and the others will understand that “No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known” (John 1:18). It is God who sits right there in the room with them!
The Bible scholar, William Barclay, eloquently speaks of our Father as revealed to us in Christ Jesus: “It is easy to imagine a god who condemns men; it is still easier to imagine a god, who, if men oppose him, wipes them out. No one would ever have dreamed of a God who chose the cross to obtain our salvation.”
But that is the God we know in Christ Jesus: the God who is for us and the God who walks with us. He is the God who longs to draw us ever closer to the Father’s heart.
What are there in Jesus’ words today to know; to feel; to do?