Thought of the Week
I took a piece of clay
And idly fashioned it one day;
And as my fingers pressed it still,
It moved and yielded at my will.
I came again when days were past,
The form I gave it still it bore,
And as my fingers pressed it still,
I could change that form no more.
I took a piece of living clay,
And gently formed it day by day,
And molded with my power and art,
A young child’s soft and yielding heart.
I came again when days were gone;
It was a man I looked upon,
He still that early impress bore,
And I could change it never more.
--The Bible Friend
SUNDAY ENCOURAGEMENT JOHN 14:7-8
GRACE BE UNTO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER AND THE LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS THE CHRIST.
In John 14:7-8 it reads: “Now that you have known me.” He said to them, “you will know my Father also, and from now on you do know him and you have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father; that is all we need.”
Philip was a very quiet person, a very different individual from the often loud and outspoken Peter. Philip has a Greek name and some Bible students believe that he was a Greek. However, he could have been Jewish and still have a Greek name. He is a very unusual man because every time we meet him, he is bringing someone to Jesus. Remember that he brought Nathanael. I’ve often wondered about that. Philip was the quiet man and Nathanael was the one who usually made smart remarks. Philip was the straight man while Nathanael was the one with the sense of humor. But quiet Philip brings people to Jesus. Remember that the Greeks came to him, wanting to see Jesus. Here he expresses the highest ambition any man can have, the highest desire expressed by any person in the whole Bible, “show us the Father.”
I’d like to ask you a personal question today. What is your desire in life? What is your real goal? Do you want to get rich? Do you want to make a name for yourself? Do you want to educate your children? Do you want to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord? Our goals may all be important ones; yet the highest goal is this expressed by Philip, “Lord show us the Father.” In John 14:9 it reads: “have I been with all; yet you do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. Why, then, do you say, ‘Show us the Father?’
Philip knew from the Old Testament that Moses had seen the glory of God and that Isaiah had a vision of the glory of God. I don’t think that we should interpret Jesus’ answer as a critical one. He tells Philip that He as performed many miracles. Although Philip had not seen the glory of God as Moses or Isaiah did, he had seen Jesus and had witnessed His words and His works. Everything that Philip wished to see, he had seen in Jesus Christ. He had seen God. In Christ there is a much greater revelation of God than any thing in the Old Testament. Philip had the greatest revelation of God because he had seen Him in human form and been with Him—in His presence—for three years! Remember that the writer to the Hebrews 1:3 says that Jesus is the brightness of the Father’s glory and the express image of His person. “He who has seen me has seen the Father” does not mean you are seeing the identical Person but you are seeing the same Person in power, in character, in love, and in everything else. You have seen all you would see in God the Father because “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” as it is written in John 4:24. It also tells us in John 1:18 “No one has ever seen God. The only son, who is the same as God and is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” It is Jesus Christ that we see. We are going to spend all eternity with Him. For those of us who love Him, the goal of our lives is to come to know Him. This is why he tells Philip in John 14:10: “Do you not believe, Philip, that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I have spoken to you,” Jesus said to his disciples, “do not come from me. The Father, who remains in me, does his own work.”
It is here that Jesus tells of His words and of His works. They are the same. One equals the other. Jesus is consistent and on time. You see our problem is to get our words and our works working at the same time. Many of us make a lot of statements and wonderful testimonies, but we don’t live a Christian life. This is why every Christian should have a time of confession. Too many Christians lose their fellowship with God because they think they are all right, but their words and their works are not working together. They say one thing, but do another. We all need time to confess.
Jesus never took credit for the work he was doing. He reminded Philip, “the words that I speak to you are not of myself: but the Father that dwells in me, he does the works.” When he spoke, it was the will of the Father. All His works were the will of the Father. So He tells Philip that when he heard the words of Jesus, he was hearing the words of the Father and, when he saw the works of Jesus, he was seeing the Father working through Jesus.
You will notice that Jesus is interrupted many times while he is speaking. First it was Peter, then Thomas, and now Philip. But Jesus continues on to speak until verse 22 when he is again interrupted. Yet he reminds us in John 14:11-12: “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. If not, believe because of the things I do. I am telling you the truth: those who believe in me will do what I do—yes they will do even greater things, because I am going to the Father.” If you can’t believe His words, believe in Him for the things that He has the power to do.
When Jesus was walking on this earth, he performed great works and miracles. The apostles to whom He spoke did the same things. They healed the sick and raised the dead. Yet Jesus says that those who believe on him will do greater. What is the greater thing which they shall do?
Preaching the good news about a crucified, risen, glorified, returning Savior so that people can year and accept Jesus Christ and be born again is a greater miracle that healing the sick. Think about it, which is better, to heal the soul or to heal the body? When Jesus Christ was on earth, He performed the miracle of raising the physical bodies of people, but we have the great privilege of preaching Jesus Christ so that people, body and soul, may live eternally. The greatest reward is to bring me and women into a good relationship with God.
Jesus is alive and still working through people today. When Jesus takes you and me and works through us to reach people, that is a great work being done.
Have you noticed how many times Jesus speaks of His Father in this passage? I counted twenty times. Therefore, Jesus tells us in John 14:13-14: “And I will do whatever you ask for in my name, so that the Father’s glory will be shown through the Son. If you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it.” He continues on to say that these greater things are the result of prayer. Yet prayer is so neglected today and misunderstood. Sometimes people will tell me, “Oh Pastor I’ve been praying, but Jesus won’t answer my prayers.” They will ask me what is wrong. I tell them that they are reading something into the verse that is not there at all. They need to keep on reading. This is all tied into one package. In John 14:15 it states: “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.”