Saturday, March 3, 2012
I find the scene recorded in John 14 which occurs on the eve of Jesus’ crucifixion so poignant. Here Jesus is seeking to prepare his disciples for his departure. I can understand from a human point of view Phillip’s desire when he says, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied” (John 14:8). In the midst of all the uncertainty that they are facing in the moment, it is understandable to want to know more, to see more. After all seeing is believing.
But Jesus tells them that “Whoever has see me has seen the Father.” They have already seen all that they need to see in him. I wonder if Jesus felt discouraged or disheartened or at least rattled at some level after having spent so much time with these disciples and still they didn’t recognize him for who he was.
We don’t know how Jesus felt. We only know what he said. “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?... 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 (John 14:10-12).
The disciples had given up a lot to follow Jesus, so at some level they must have believed. But God is revealing a deeper truth about himself in Jesus and calling these men to a deeper faith. And their faith is about to get tested in a way they could never have imagined as they follow Jesus all the way to the cross.
And we know the rest of the story. Though they faltered and failed by running and denying him, in the end, all but Judas really did believe. With the power of the Holy Spirit igniting their lives, they changed the world with their powerful witness of all that Jesus had said and done. They were willing to speak boldly, sacrifice much, suffer greatly, and even die. Why? Quite simply, they truly believed.
To truly believe in God the Father Almighty is to believe in Jesus—to have confidence in him. It is a process of growing in grace and learning more and more to rely on the power of the Spirit rather than our own human resources. Faith is a gift from God, but God can and will deepen our faith as we choose to spend time getting to know him and participating in what he is doing in the world. How’s that going?