• Ewen Lin

Show us the Father


John 14:8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 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 authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me[e] anything in my name, I will do it.



So imagine tonight you get home. Couch, Maccas, Tv. And suddenly you hear a banging on your door. When you open it, your best friend is standing there freaking out. Hair is all over the place, looking like they’ve just seen a ghost. And they say to you, can I come in? We need to talk.


And as you let them in, you notice the blood. It looks like a red shirt at first but then you realise they are drenched in blood. She looks at you and says, your little brother is dead. You’re shocked so obviously you say, what? It can’t be I just saw him at ECU today. He said he’ll come home after his lecture. You’re joking right, I don’t believe it.


And she says I know, I was in the lecture too and when we were walking to the bus stop this car just came out of nowhere onto the walkway and your brother was right in front of it and he was hit. I was right there. By the time the ambulance came it was too late. I held him in my arms as he died.


And you say, I see. I see. We say that even when we weren’t there. Even when we didn’t see it with our own eyes. Based on somebody else’ word, we see and we believe. In fact, it’s irrational for us not to. If you say I refuse to believe and continue living your life, you’re just in denial!


The same thing is true when it comes to God. Lots of people refuse to believe in God because they can’t see him. And because I can’t see, I can’t believe. Even though that doesn’t make sense.


That’s where this passage comes in.


We see God when we look at Jesus


The main point of this passage is actually quite simple: You see God when you look at Jesus. To be in the same room as Jesus is to be in the same room as God. When Jesus speaks, every word coming out of his mouth are God’s words. To see Jesus is to see God. That’s the point. Look at verse 8.


8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.

Philip wants what all of us want. To see God. It’s not just Christians. It’s also people who don’t believe in God. They don’t believe because they can’t see God. Show me the evidence and I’ll believe. And for people who do believe in God, like Philip here, we also think it’ll be cool if we could see God. Right? Don’t you?


It’s completely natural for us. We tend to trust what we can see with our own eyes more than what anybody else says. Even more than what we know to be true. If you don’t believe me, just ask yourself 2 questions.


Do you worry about the future? Job, money, house? I know I do. Next question: does God provide for all our needs? I would say yes, I know He does. Well then, why do we still worry? You know why I worry? Because I can’t see God’s provision tomorrow, today. I have to wait for tomorrow for God to provide what I need tomorrow?


“Show me the Father, and it is enough for us.” Philip says what we all are thinking at some point in our lives. It’ll be nice wouldn’t it? And Jesus says, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” Look at verse 10,


10 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 authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

In essence, Jesus tells Philip, trust what I say, not what you can see. But if that’s too difficult, believe on account of the works themselves.


Now here’s my question: what works is Jesus talking about? Our first glance tells us it’s obviously the miraculous works right? There’s a lot of times in the Bible when Jesus makes a claim to be God and when people challenge him, he performs a miracle. Bam! Look with your own eyes! What’s the problem? Verse 12.


12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

Now Jesus says we will do those works too? I don’t know about you, but I’ve never healed a blind guy. Have you? So what’s this work?


I think, and this is the key to understanding this passage, that the work is evangelism.


Look at verse 10 again. 10 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 authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. That last sentence doesn’t really make sense. You would think that Jesus is saying, I don’t speak on my own authority, but on the Father’s authority. Or that the Father is the speaking through Jesus. That’s the logic we would expect. But the two things Jesus contrasts are “I do not speak on my own authority” and “the Father does His works.” And so if we follow the logic backwards, “the Father does His works,” is Jesus speaking with authority.


In other words, the Father works when Jesus speaks. In fact we can go further and say, the Father shows Himself in what Jesus says. The words coming out of Jesus mouth is God the Father doing His work. So it’s not like we tend to picture it: Jesus speaks, God does miracles through Jesus to back it up. This is saying, Jesus speaks, God works. God shows Himself in the words of Jesus.


Why does Jesus say believe me or else believe the works? Jesus is saying, even though you don’t see it, others do. God shows Himself when Jesus speaks and those who listen see God. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not true.


And this then makes the next part of the passage really clear.


12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me[e] anything in my name, I will do it.

The work here is where God shows Himself in Jesus’ words. Which is also called evangelism. Let me put it another way. Imagine I’m talking to someone and we start talking about life, what’s your passion, why are you doing what you’re doing, is there a bigger meaning in life. I’m sharing the gospel and telling them about God. And they say to me, you know what I don’t believe in God because I can’t see him. Why can’t God just show himself to me. I’ll believe it when I see it.


The answer to that is, what do you think we’ve been doing? This is how God appears. Our default is to distinguish between what we hear with our ears and what we see with our eyes. But God doesn’t. That’s why Paul says people are blind to the truth, not that they are deaf. Because God shows Himself in the Words of Jesus. That’s what makes Philip’s request so absurd. Show us the Father. I am doing that right now as I am talking to you, says Jesus.

Why do we do greater works? It’s greater not in quantity, but in quality. It’s greater for the same reason the Bible tells us that John the Baptist is the greatest of all the prophets, but all of us are greater than John the Baptist. Why? Because of where we are in relation to the cross. In the OT, the word is God will save. When Jesus came, he says I am going to save. Now in the NT, the word is God has saved. The message of a saving God gets bigger and better and clearer. It’s not that in the past people were lesser, it’s just that what they can see is limited by their time in history.


And verse 13 becomes really simple. What does it mean ask in Jesus’ name? It’s not a formula, like how we end every prayer with in Jesus name. You have to, otherwise God won’t do what you ask. Really? No. To ask in my name means to align ourselves with everything Jesus stands for. I’ll give you two examples, one from the Bible and one from society. In the OT, you hear people pray to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. What’s the deal? It’s setting the context where God made promises and we the descendants are looking to that promise. You can’t pray to the God of Abraham, please kill all of Abraham’s children. It doesn’t work like that.


Another example is say you go to Bali for a holiday and for whatever reason the Indonesian government arrests you for being a spy. What you must do, is get the consulate or embassy to get the Australian High Commission to step in. Why? Because you’re an Australian citizen. Dear Scott Morrison, I’m an aussie citizen, you have to help me. You can’t write to ScoMo and say, I’m an aussie citizen, give me a Ferrari. It doesn’t work like that.


So when Jesus says, 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me[e] anything in my name, I will do it. It’s not a recipe to get whatever you want. It’s a promise that God makes and will keep to be glorified in Jesus. What is the one prayer God will always say yes? It’s this. Please be glorified in the Son. Make yourself known through Jesus. And why will God always say yes? Because we see God when we look at Jesus. God shows Himself in the Words of Jesus.

Say hello!

© 2020 The Gospel Stand

  • Facebook