With Judas gone and promises added to all the somber warnings, the mood in the upper room brightened.
While there was a price to be paid, there was also a prize to be gained. The task before Jesus was this: help His men develop a deep trust in the heart of the Father. Growing up under the Old Covenant of Laws and liturgies, regulations and rules, they had never even considered a personal relationship with Jehovah. They experienced the intimacy of their hometown synagogues without feeling intimacy with God. They were impressed with the grandeur of the Temple in Jerusalem but never felt the touch of God on their minds or in their hearts.
Jesus changed everything.
Now that He had called them to walk with Him, they had someone with whom they could relate. He called Himself Son-of-God and Son-of-Man—how strange—and yet how very true. John the Baptist was the last of the Old Covenant prophets but Jesus was a prophet and so much more. They would soon realize that Jesus was “Prophet, and Priest, and King,” as we often sing today. He had to show them the Father He knew so well.
Seeing the Father
How could this be done? Only one way: They had to realize the power of knowing Jesus.
“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also;
and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”
It was easy to see Jesus, sitting there at the table with them, but who among the eleven could see the Father? Phillip voiced the question.
“Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”
The concept was new to them—a matter of relationship rather than rules and multi-faceted proximity rather than manifold promises. They had to know that Jesus, Himself, was the revelation of the Father!
“Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip?
“He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”
So important was this truth, Jesus let the words hover in their hearts before elaborating. Because the Father dwelt in Jesus, He, too, was right there at the table with them. Jesus’ words and deeds were sourced in this internal and spiritual residence of the Father.
“The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority;
but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.”
They must believe in Him—in His words, in His works—they all came from the Father.
To a man, each of the eleven remembered what Jesus said about leaving them alone. How would they know the Father then? Who would teach them? Who would work the wonders then? Jesus knew their thoughts.
“… he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”
Surely, He had gone too far! These simple men would do greater works than Jesus? How could such a thing be? Surely Jesus would qualify such a claim, moderate the metaphor, explain the symbolism… No. He made it more explicit.
“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”
None of the men dared to look at the other. This was more than their minds could grasp. Yet, this was also their destiny.
“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
Lord Jesus, How could it ever be that I, that my brothers and sisters in Your Kingdom, could do greater works that You did as You walked this earth? Yet this is Your promise to us. I must let others judge what is great and what is greater. The task before me today is simply to obey You, to do what You put on my list for the day. Looking back, I can see things we have done that are far greater than anything I could ever do without You. I will operate by Your truth to do our will. In Your name, I can and will succeed. Amen.
Open Our Eyes, Lord
Words and Music: Bob Cull
Open our eyes, Lord We want to see Jesus
To reach out and touch Him And say that we love Him
Open our ears, Lord And help us to listen
Open our eyes, Lord We want to see Jesus
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved