Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A (Not So) Simple Request

Our scriptures this week are Acts 2:1-21 and John 14:8-32.

The main focus of our passages is Holy Spirit: Jesus’ promise to the disciples that he will send the Holy Spirit (John) and the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost (Acts). No doubt Stephen will preach a great sermon, something very fitting for Pentecost, on Sunday. But I want to touch on part of the reading that is just calling out to me, John 14: 8-14.

Jesus has just told the disciples “I’m the truth and the life…if you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him” (John 8:6-7). Phillip then asks, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us" (John 14:8, NIV) or "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied" (John 14:8, NLT). Jesus’ response basically is, “Haven’t you been paying attention! I come from the Father- He’s in me. I’m standing right here, aren’t I!”

Why is Phillip’s question so out of place? It is just a little request, right? Just a quick look will be enough. But in reading the footnotes to my copy of the Harper-Collins Study Bible, I was pointed to other passages in John about the Father. Turns out, no one has seen the Father. It hasn’t been done (unless maybe you count Moses’ brief glimpse as God “passed by” in Exodus 33:20-23). “No one has ever seen God” (John 1:18) and it is only through the Son that the Father is known. So it turns out that what Phillip is asking isn’t a little request at all—it is a big deal! He’s saying that if you give us the ultimate proof of God, show him to us, we will be satisfied. Let us see Him, then we will have enough to believe.

But Jesus says in response, “I am here. If you need proof, that’s it. If my standing here isn’t enough, then look at all the works I’ve done. Believe.” Just believe already! How many times in our lives has this message been brought home to us? How many times do we need to hear “Believe” until we finally believe with no more doubts, no more questions?

See this post by Brent Kercheville on the Christian Monthly Standard for more thoughts on how there is never enough proof.

See you Sunday,


1 comment:

Jeremy said...

Thanks for putting this together, Susan!

Your #1 fan,