Wednesday 15 March 2023

John 14:8-14 - Making it clear

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This must have felt frustrating; Jesus has already explained to them all and then added more to help Thomas. But now Philip doesn't understand either. But Jesus is able to cope with anything, and in this he leads the way for us; frustration doesn't lead to impatience. We are called to be patient as he is patient.

Philip asks Jesus to show the Father to the puzzled, anxious disciples, and he adds that doing so will satisfy them. Jesus is surprised. I've been with you all this time, Philip: how can you not know me?

Simple truth - And he explains again the simple truth that he and his Father are one, 'I'm in the Father, and he's in me'. This simple truth is hard for Philip to grasp because it is so deep, so astonishing, yet so simple. Surely far too simple to be true, and far too shocking as well. Nobody has ever made claims like this before! It is either true, or Jesus is utterly deluded, or at worst he's a complete fraud. No wonder Philip struggles! Jesus tells him that if he can't believe what he says, he should certainly believe what he's been doing - healing the sick, raising the dead, forgiving the guilty. Who else but the Father himself could do this stuff?

The Father's glory - If you believe in me you'll do even greater things because, when I'm in the Father's presence, you'll be able to ask whatever is needed and I'll do it for you. Why? Because the Father's glory (the Presence that has long been in the holiest place in the Temple) will instead be in Jesus and his glory will no longer be contained in the Holy of Holies but will be contained in Jesus instead. And although Jesus doesn't say so here, the Father's glory will therefore be in the church because we, the church, are Jesus' body here in the world. Perhaps this is not fully understood or expressed until the Holy Spirit reveals it to Paul on the Damascus road. Paul knew only too well that the Presence had left the Holy Place, it was now desolate and empty, utterly destroyed by a Roman Army. There is a new Holy Place, the church, inhabited by the Son, and through him, by the Father too since they are one. Although this was plain to Paul after the Temple's destruction, it may have been far less clear to the disciples while the Temple still stood intact.

We carry an inestimable treasure with us wherever we go! And if that doesn't fill you with hope, joy, and encouragement, I don't know what will.
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