Even the strongest of faiths will have doubts sometimes.
Do you agree? Have you been there? If you have, then you understand how the apostles felt. We benefit from reading through the Gospel accounts and watching their struggle. We hear their thoughts. We walk with them through their doubts.
And if we’re honest, they say what we would think too.
We’re still at the Last Supper, the final meal Jesus would have with His disciples before the Crucifixion. Jesus continued speaking as we enter John 14:7-11.
“If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone 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 that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.John 14:7-11
New International Version
Jesus is speaking to all the disciples; the “you” is plural. “If you really know me, you will know my Father as well” John 14:7. He tells them to recognize the holiness in Him. If you see Jesus, then you see the Father. If you evaluate Jesus’ actions, you see the Father in action.
Philip seems to say what they were probably all thinking in verse 8, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Can you blame Philip? “Just show us the Father and that will settle it for us.”
Philip longed to go from theological abstract to concrete commitment. But, of course, he didn’t understand exactly what he was asking. He asked to see God—that is, to see the Father. Although there seemed to be a few exceptions in the Old Testament, the general rule was Exodus 33:20: “no one may see me and live.”
Perhaps that is why Jesus’ response is so sharp and yet sad in verse 9… “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time?”
How could the remaining eleven still doubt His purpose and origin after all this time? Throughout all four Gospel accounts, we know that the disciples had difficulty on their side of the resurrection with how the Divinity of God combined with the humanity in Jesus.
This really shouldn’t come as a surprise since scholars today have difficulty sometimes putting it together, and we have the benefit of 2,000 years of perspective and reflection!
Nevertheless, we should not expect to see God like what Philip was asking. But our desire is still to connect with God. There’s a part of us longing to connect with the reality of God—to feel Him close. We want to recognize His holiness in a way that cannot be disputed.
So did the Apostles.
Jesus’ answer to them was “believe.” Believe that Jesus is in the Father, and the Father is in Jesus. Or, Jesus continues (in verse 11), “at least believe the evidence of the works themselves.” Jesus declares to us that His actions are the Father’s actions. There is nothing He is doing that isn’t what the Father is doing. “Like father, like son,” we would say.
This isn’t to say the Apostles never had moments of brilliance when they put it together before the resurrection, but they had nagging doubts.
Jesus’ holiness is a testimony of His identity as the Son of God. Even in the hours before His betrayal, trial, and death, the resolute Savior of the world is teaching His disciples to evaluate the works He has done, and if nothing else, these works will prove that He is whom He says He is.
Dear brothers and sisters, we are encouraged to recognize His holiness. He has shown us the road to Heaven and has given us, His kids, a reason for hope: Him.