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Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’
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.’
Many people take great pride in the way they believe they are able to dig beneath the surface and get to ‘really know’ someone. They like to think that they are able to predict their every thought and action. As such people journey through life they hone their reputation as those who ‘know’ and ‘understand’ how other people ‘tick’. As they nurture their inquisitiveness, they also develop the ways in which they use their strange ‘powers’ to control others. Such people become manipulative as they wield an evil influence over others. In today’s reading Jesus gives us pause for thought in such matters.
Jesus said: If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him. This is a truly life-changing statement. We are being promised that through our coming into a relationship with Jesus Christ, we are entering into just as profound a relationship with God himself.
Philip’s response to this is very like that of those I described above. Philip wanted more. It is almost as though knowing Jesus is not enough. Rather than accepting that a relationship with the Son is sufficient to bring us into the closest of relationships with our Heavenly Father, Philip wants to dig deeper. Philip suggests that he can only be satisfied if he sees the one whom Jesus calls Father for himself.
Too often we behave in the same way as Philip. The promises of Jesus are contained within the gospel narrative, as are the only directions we will ever need for following the way he has prepared for us. And yet, we want more. Hearing the words and actions of Jesus do not seem to be enough for many. Too many of us want to identify the traps and shortcomings that lie in simple faith; we want to get the upper hand by trying to step between Jesus and his Heavenly Father. But … all the time we invest our intellectual energies on achieving the impossible, we miss the point. Instead of coming closer to God we widen the gulf we should be trying to cross.
Jesus’ message to humanity could not be more simple: If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it. It is as easy as that. Strive only to strengthen your relationship with Jesus, for it is through that relationship you will find yourself, ultimately, coming into the nearer presence of his, and our, Heavenly Father.