Loving Father, may I have the power to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge (Ephesians 3:18-19).
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. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever
you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”
“Heavy!” That’s what I would often say walking out of the college classroom after hearing a profound lecture. “Heavy!” That was my 60’s way of saying that something was deep, wise, and going to take a lot of thought. I read Jesus’ words in today’s scripture and want to say, “Heavy!” Here is something that will take a lot of prayerful thought. Yet, these profound, heavy words are recorded by John in the simplest Greek language in all of the New Testament. But Jesus’ words soar in John’s Gospel! That is why early Christian art and iconography used the eagle to symbolize the high-flying Gospel of John.
In today’s scripture Jesus speaks “heavy” words spelling out the three profound mysteries of Christian faith. And all three of the mysteries are mysteries of oneness. First is the mystery of the Trinity in which three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the one and only God. Then there is the mystery of the Incarnation, in which the divine nature becomes one with human nature in Jesus Christ. Finally, there is the mystery of the Atonement, the At-one-ment, in which God makes Himself “at one” with sinful humanity through Jesus Christ. God reveals infinite, incomprehensible love in wanting to make us forever at one with Him.
Jesus pulls back the veil on eternal realities as He speaks of His oneness with the Father:
- “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”
- “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?”
- “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.”
Because Jesus is “in the Father” and the “Father is in” Him, the works Jesus does and the words Jesus speaks are the Father in Him. This is why Jesus says, “the Father who dwells in me does his works.” This is a prelude as to how God will do His work in us.
Jesus explains throughout John’s Gospel that He lives and ministers in reliance on the Father:
- “Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise” (John 5:19).
- “I do nothing on my own, but I speak these things as the Father instructed me” (John 8:28b).
Scottish theologian Thomas Torrance tells when he was serving on the front lines in Italy during World War II, he came upon a young wounded soldier with only moments to live. As Torrance bent over the dying man, the young man asked: “Padre, is God really like Jesus?” Thomas assured him that God was like Jesus, and then the young man smiled and died.
For a world wondering what God is like, it is clear. Jesus is one with the Father and the Father one with Him. Scripture declares that through Jesus Christ we can be one with the Father who will also speak and work through us. And Jesus said that the Father would do even “greater works” through us!
This is heavy, isn’t it? It’s going to take a lot of prayerful thought!
- What does it mean for me that Jesus has made me one with the Father?
- What do I want to say about this to Jesus, and to the Father?
- What does this say to me about doing God’s work?
O most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother, may I know Thee more clearly, love Thee more dearly, and follow Thee more nearly, day by day.
Richard of Chichester (1197-1253)