“Show Us The Father”
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 14:7-8a (Holman) AIf you know Me, you will also know My Father. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.@ ALord,@ said Philip, Ashow us the Father. . .@
Philip voiced humanity’s deepest spiritual need. AShow us the Father.@ It is the cry of spiritual orphans desperately seeking their roots. People have an innate longing for God. A heart turns to belief in God as the flower turns to the sun.
Our nature is not always conscious it is after Him; but it reaches to, calls for, and longs after something which can be satisfied in Him only. We can fight, damage, and suppress our native instinct for God, but we can never destroy it. When given a chance, it eventually surfaces.
Atheism is neither natural nor normal. It must be grafted in, carefully nourished, and constantly fed.
Even the Communists, who prided themselves in their atheism, had a glaring flaw in their armor. They said ANo God!@ But venerated the remains of Lenin. Theirs was a god of flesh and embalming fluid. I personally prefer the living God. We need to echo Philip. AShow us the Father!@
John 14:8b A. . .and that=s enough for us.@
Philip thought a physical glimpse of the Father would satisfy his need. This was not true. Israel’s elders saw God’s feet, but died in the wilderness due to unbelief. Nadab and Abihu saw His glory, but were struck dead. The whole nation saw the cloud, yet made a graven image. Moses saw the hind parts of God, but committed sin unto death.
God reveals Himself to our spirit, not to our senses. Spirit and flesh are worlds apart when it comes to communicating with God. What happens to the spirit will always influence the flesh, but not necessarily vica versa.
Abraham told the rich man his brothers would not be saved even if one rose from the dead to preach to them. People=s problem is not a lack of physical evidence, but rather a wrong spiritual attitude.
John 14:9a Jesus said to him, AHave I been among you all this time without your knowing Me, Philip? @
Jesus was disappointed that men who had known Him so long knew so little about Him. His was the discouragement of a teacher who labors to teach, but the students don’t learn. The slowness of a pupil can dishearten a teacher.
Jesus refused to give up on the disciples. He taught them again and again. If they misunderstood, He started all over. He refused to be soured by their slowness or scant response. God help us as ministers and teachers to act the same way.
John 14:9b-11 AThe one who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, >show us the Father?= Don=t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I speak to you I do not speak on My own. The Father who lives in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. Otherwise, believe because of the works themselves.@
If we do not find the Father through Jesus, we will never find Him. If we do not know Christ as Immanuel, God with us, we are ignorant of Him altogether. In Christ we see more of the Father than Moses did on Mt. Sinai.
The Father is in all places, but not equally manifest in all places. His self-revelations climaxed in the person of Jesus Christ.
John 14:12a AI assure you: the one who believes in Me will also do the works that I do.. .@
Jesus taught, healed, raised the dead, and cast out demons. The Apostles later matched these, item for item. Teaching marked all their ministries. Christ healed with the hem of His garment; Peter healed with his shadow (Acts 5:15), and Paul healed with handkerchiefs that touched him (Acts 19:12). Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter, Lazarus, and the widow’s son at Nain. Peter raised Dorcas. Paul raised Eutychus. Jesus cast out demons. Paul did, too.
The early believers’ secret to success was their believing in Jesus. Herein lies our failure. Why can we not do what God wants us to do? The answer is simple. A lack of faith has cut the connection, and shut the tap.
Perplexed over their failure, the disciples asked Jesus about the demon, AWhy couldn=t we drive it out?@ (Matthew 17:19). Jesus replied, ABecause of your little faith@ (Matthew 17:20). Christ in us can achieve any deed. Christian weakness is caused by a lack of faith on our part.
John 14:12b A. . .and he will do even greater works than these. . .@
We need to be sure we understand what Jesus meant by Agreater works.@ He could not mean more extraordinary works than He did. This would be impossible. His meaning was, their works would have farther-reaching effects than His did.
Jesus wanted to be mightier through His followers than He was through His own flesh. Had the world ended the day after the Ascension, few would have known Jesus ever lived. Several healed people would remember, crowds that saw and heard Him would recall, but in a generation His memory would have faded.
Caesar never heard of Him. Jesus did not write a book or leave any written work. As far as we know, only about 500 were believers when Jesus ascended. The whole Christian movement could have easily fit in our auditorium.
Jesus laid a stable foundation, but foundations receive little publicity. What Jesus has continued to do after the Ascension has constituted His greatest works.
Jesus’ ministry was confined to a small country. He never preached outside Palestine. The Gospel was carried to the rest of the world by the disciples. They took the message to places where adultery and homosexuality were common practice, vice flourished as a tropical forest. Nothing could stop their advance.
Christ wrought miracles for three years in one country. His followers have wrought miracles for two millennia around the globe.
The ultimate Agreater work@ involved the conversion of multitudes by the preaching of the Word. Jesus spent much more time teaching than healing.
The book of Acts deals more with works of salvation than with physical healings. The Apostles reflected Christ=s estimate of the relative value of the two types of work.
Conversion is a greater work than physical miracles. Paul shook a viper off his hand, a small occurrence compared to a conversion that made him willing to shake off his honors and prestige for Christ=s sake.
Jesus sent 70 to heal the sick and cast out demons. When they returned rejoicing, Jesus quickly distinguished the importance of sensational powers versus salvation. He turned their thoughts to the spiritual, ADon=t rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven@ (Luke 10:20).
If there is a Hell, a lake of fire B and there is B nothing can compare to salvation in importance. It is far greater to cleanse spirits than to cleanse from disease; to open hearts to God than to open blind eyes; to elicit faith than to unstop deaf ears; to quicken a dead spirit than to raise a dead body.
What if a lame man is healed, but uses his legs for evil? What if a healed blind man uses his eyes to seek out wickedness? Physical well being is important, but not most important. The spiritual outweighs the physical.
Conversion is greater than physical miracles due not only to its being more important, but also to its requiring more power. In physical miracles God has absolute control. He commands laws of nature, and they instantly obey. There is no resistance.
But in regeneration God=s will confronts another will B a will He made free and powerful, a will He refuses to coerce. As a result, it is easier to create a planet than to convert a sinner.
Nature never resisted Christ=s Word, but people still reject Him. Obstinate carnal sinners must be made willing. This takes a Areal@ miracle, one which Jesus is able and willing to perform.