I don’t know about you, but I find it’s absolutely amazing sometimes that we can be so familiar with something or someone and yet somehow be ignorant or insensitive to things and people around us. It seems so contradictory to know, and yet not to know, at the same time. How often have we heard the statement, “I thought I knew everything there was to know about that person? But I've discovered I really didn't know them at all.” That statement simply reveals that it is possible to know a person, and yet not really notice all of the complex qualities of their personality; just as so many people do when you think of Jesus Christ. Maybe you struggle with who Jesus is? Maybe, you've said this statement “I thought I knew everything there was to know about that person? But I’ve discovered I really didn’t know them at all.” Maybe you felt that way? I thought I knew him, but I really didn’t. Maybe we’re not so different to Phillip and the gang when he spoke out to Jesus. I want you think about this statement and see if this is you at times. The statement is found in Phillip’s comment to what Jesus has already said in (v8) “Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us." Maybe you’re the type of person that needs to see more in order to believe? Maybe you’re the type of person who waits for signs and wonders to make you believe? I think Odd Thomas said it best when it comes to this type of thinking in Humble Beast's song
"Signs & Symbols"
Odd Thomas said.......Sometimes what we believe to be true
from our supernatural pursuits
Is actually a fluke,
a series of events used to distract you from truth
But I'll give you a sign thats obvious
One of the most supernatural acts
is that God through his word
Has actually revealed everything pertaining to life and godliness
There's this idea that an individual
is somehow more spiritual
If he see these so signs and symbols
And takes what's normally invisible and make it simple.
But I say the mark of a mature man
Is the one who reads Gods word and understands
And allows that, to govern his decisions and perspective plans.
These men have been with Christ for 3 years, and to their defence they were men who’s knowledge was small and limited at best! They knew very little before the crucifixion and resurrection compared to what they knew after the day of Pentecost. Look at how Jesus responds to this group of men, who J.C Ryle described as “children in understanding” Children, as described when Paul penned these words “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” 1 Cor 13:11-12. So Jesus responds as always with a loving, comforting tone to His child like disciples. Look what Jesus says (v9-v11) Have I been with you this long and you still need more proof to who I claim to be Phillip? (v9). Have you forgotten already the supernatural work that I have done since I’ve been with you? For instance:
- I turned water into wine at the wedding you attended with me Phillip.
- Have you forgotten that I knew where you friend Nathanael’s secret alone place was when I called him?
- I calmed the storm with a command while we were in the boat together.
- I feed you and thousands of others with only a small portion fit for one boy.
- I casted out demons that knew who I was.
- I walked on water to you and the rest of the disciples.
- I gave sight to the blind, even from birth, and made the lame to walk again.
- I healed people by my touch, without my touch and from a distance, remember the nobleman’s son?
See, this must have grieved the heart of God, to know that His disciples hearts were still unsettled about what was going to happen and to who Jesus claimed to be GOD incarnate. Jesus poured His life into these men, day in and day out. These men had the privilege to walk, witness, fellowship with the God who created them for His glory! These men walk with the “image of the invisible God”. The same God who walked with Adam and Eve in the coolness of the day before sin came. The same God who provided a sacrifice for Abraham and Isaac. The same God who wrestled with Jacob the night his name was changed to Israel. The same God who was born of a virgin to save us from our destruction. Jesus in His incarnate form displayed for us the truth that Paul penned to the church. Col 1:12-16 “giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.”
The same truth the Hebrew writer was trying to proclaim in the early part of his letter. Heb 1:1-3 “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” the disciples didn’t fully understand or could possibly comprehend this truth until later when the Holy Spirit came into their lives.
See Phillip didn’t ask this question as if this is the first time meeting Jesus. This is the final hours the disciples will be with Jesus, before His arrest and death on a cross. But we need to understand! The question or statement that Phillip asked or demanded is no different than many of us today in our society ask….even people in the church! we just ask or demand in a different way……….
- Where is your God, reveal Him to us?
- Why do bad things happen to good people?
- God wouldn’t let this happen in my life?
- How could a God like that allow so much death and destruction?
- How could you follow a God you haven’t seen?
See the logical answer to Phillip’s question is…….. To see God physically is to look upon person of Christ. But like Phillip and the rest of the disciples they didn’t get it! They were very much like their ancient generations of old. They too didn’t get it, or the big picture. St. Augustine put this beautifully when he pointed out that the eyes of faith were still being formed in the disciples and they were at this point unable really to see at all. He said “Why wasn’t he seen? Because the eye he could be seen with was not yet whole. As for the Lord’s body, which could be seen with these eyes, it was not only the one who revered him who saw him but also the Jews who crucified him. So if he wanted to be seen in another way, it means he was requiring other eyes.” In other words, the physical eyes of man could look upon Jesus and either love and worship Him or hate and crucify Him.
We see this today. Some people look at Jesus and love Him. Some people look at Jesus and hate Him. Do you realize it’s possible to look at Jesus, but not really see who He is? But to eyes of faith, however, Jesus reveals more than what the physical eyes see. To eyes of faith, Jesus reveals nothing less than God the Father. “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” Again Jesus is giving His disciples another gentle answer to encourage the troubled heart of Phillip and the rest of the disciples. See we need to understand when Jesus answers with “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” What Jesus is saying is that He makes things known, He uncovers, and He unveils. Jesus is revelation. Jesus shows us God.
- To see Jesus is to see the Father.
- To see Jesus heal is to know that God is a healing God.
- To see Jesus forgive is to know that God is a forgiving God.
- To see Jesus reach out to the outcast is to know that God is the God who loves outcasts.
- To see Jesus tell His disciples to forgive and forgive again, is to know that God’s mercies are ever new.
- To see Jesus weep is to know that God cares.
- To see Jesus die…is to know that God will do whatever it takes to save lost humanity.
- To see Jesus rise again is to know that God wins!
Isn’t that amazing and humbling all at the same time as New Testament Christians? Doesn’t that just change your perspective and outlook on who Jesus, truly is. God who came in the form of man to save man from himself. How do we know that’s true? The proof is found in your transformed life who loves and believes Jesus even though you never saw Him physically. The question is………Do you believe this to be true? Is it possible that Jesus is asking you the same question he spoke to Phillip, this morning?
“have I been with you for so many years[add your name] and you still struggle to know Me?”
Have you forgotten that…….
- I was there when you were conceived.
- I was there when you gave your first breath.
- I was there when you feel off your bike and scrapped your knee.
- I was there when you cried out to Me in genuine repentance and faith.
- I was there when nobody else was.
- I was there when you fell in love with the one I chose for you.
- I was there when you lost someone close to you.
- I was there when you fell into sin.
- I was there to pick you up and restore you.
- I was there and will always be God.
Do you believe this even though you never saw Him or touched Him? Do you believe even though you never saw the burning bush? Do you believe even though you never saw the glow of Moses face when he ascended Mount Sinai? Do you believe even though you never saw the cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night? Do you believe even though you never saw Him hang on the cross? Do you believe even though you didn’t see the empty tomb for yourself? Do you believe even though you can’t see Heaven from where you are? Do you believe? See we don't need to see something supernatural in order for us to put our faith in trust in Jesus Christ! See, every one of us live a Ruth story! What do I mean by that? Our lives are very much like Ruth, plain, boring that has no special or supernatural event to make people follow by faith. Just like the story of Ruth we see our lives as......A typical life with no excitement or seeing any supernatural moments. A life of tragedy and sorrow. A life of hard work and not knowing what lies ahead. A life of daily struggles and fighting the flesh. A life that each and every one of face….day in and day out. The one thing we all have in common with Ruth and everyone else in the bible is that Jesus is Lord and He will always be with us, just as He was with Moses, Elijah, David, Hosea, the disciples and the church! And if that’s not enough! As Jesus said in (v11) “believe …..for the sake of the works themselves.” What is that work? What I’ve [meaning Jesus] has accomplished in His earthly ministry and most of all! Your transformed life……..you are not who you used to be. That's a MIRACLE! We are God's representatives to a lost and broken world who desperately need Jesus Christ; which is the amazing and unbelievable supernatural work found in Christ and the gospel.