Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him. Philip said to [Jesus,] “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.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” (NRSV)
Now, mind you, Jesus had been teaching the disciples to see God all along, but this very evening, after Jesus washed their feet and after they had eaten together, Jesus reminded them again. In fact, he said it even more clearly. In John 13:31, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.” Jesus had often referred to himself as “the Son of Man” so the disciples had to know he was talking about himself. It is clear from this line that God is working in and through Jesus. And not only that, Jesus had just said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:6-7, NRSV)
Is Philip being stubborn? Is he thick headed? Jesus just told him! “If you know me, you will know my father.”
Philip, I know your kind. You are NEVER satisfied. You say you will be, but you are fooling yourself. I bet you know some people like that too.
Sadly, most of us are Philip in some way or another. We see what we want to see and we don’t see what is right in front of our faces. That is why so many of us cannot be at peace. Jesus tells us not to be afraid. He has given us peace. He has given us the Advocate who will teach us everything we need to know, but we cannot seem to trust any of it. Do we really believe it can be true? We don’t act like it. We worry. We fret. We strategize. Or we go the other way… we go into denial. We have become Philip at that point.
This passage highlights a very human problem. Human beings very rarely know how much power we have in our own mind. We therefore fail to harness that power. Jesus says “DO NOT LET your hearts be troubled. DO NOT LET them be afraid.” (John 14:27, NRSV, emphasis mine) A troubled heart, in a psychologically healthy person, is a short term affliction. That stirring in our souls that we call a ‘troubled heart’ is meant to convey information that requires action. It is a motivating emotional experience. It is meant to propel us to make it right, whatever it is that is troubling us. We are meant to respond to it, thus improving the situation. If you let your heart be troubled, you are choosing to avoid action that might bring resolution. If we let our hearts be afraid, we are focusing on what might happen rather than taking action to see what WILL happen… what we can MAKE happen. We end up ignoring the helper who is right there with us.
Once again, notice I said this is true for a psychologically healthy person. A psychologically unbalanced person is at risk for a troubled heart/soul/spirit without any choice in the matter. That person needs professional help, not blame.
So what about the person like Philip that refuses to see? They need to do their holy work. They need to examine why they are holding themselves back from trusting Jesus. Is it you? Do you SAY you have faith and then don’t ACT like it? Maybe you are ashamed of something in your past. Maybe it seems just too good to believe. Maybe life has been hard and it seems like God should have had your back. Maybe there is something you cannot forgive. Maybe your challenge is worry. It makes you think you have thought of everything that could happen and have a ‘head start’ on dealing with it if it actually does. It is an empty promise. It never works. Maybe it is something else that keeps you from completely trusting God; completely placing yourself in God’s mercy. Whatever it is, I invite you to let go of it.
Take a risk on Jesus. Take a risk on trust. Let go of all the rest… trust that through Jesus, you have seen God. Trust that Jesus’ love is sufficient for you.
Blessings to you,
Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.