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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: The Gospels

Chapter 76 - John 14:8-10 - The Revelation of the Father Light & Truth: The Gospels by Bonar, Horatius

Index

LXXVI.

 

The Revelation Of The Father.

 

     "Philip saith not him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet host thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself: but the Father, that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works."-John 14:8-10.

 

 

     Frequently did Jesus speak to His disciples of the Father. Sometimes "my Father," sometimes "your Father," sometimes "the Father." They knew whom He meant, Jehovah, Israel's God. But when He spoke of their knowing the Father, and of having seen Him; of His going to the Father, and preparing a place for them in the Father's house, and taking them to be there with them, they seemed bewildered, some asking one question, and some another, in their ignorance and perplexity. His words had roused their interest, but not satisfied it. He had pointed them to an object and a Being of whom they felt they knew but little. What is this place, and where is this way, and who is this Being of whom He speaks? Eye and ear are turned in the direction to which He is pointing.

     I. The request. "Show us the Father, and it sufficeth." Philip spoke for his brethren as well as for himself. He speaks for us also.

     (1.) It is a proper request. It is not curiosity nor foolishness that dictate it. It is one naturally and obviously suggested by the words of Christ; one which he meant to be suggested, and which He meant to comply with. Just the request for a creature, for a sinner.

     (2.) It is an intelligent request. Philip knew what he was asking, though there was much ignorance about His question. It is not vague, like those who cry blindly, Who will shew us any good? It bears on a definite object. It fixes on a certain desirable point, which it would fain have cleared up. It knows what it wants.

     (3.) It is an earnest request. He who utters it is not using mere words of course. He is thoroughly in earnest. Christ's words have roused him into earnestness. He feels as if he ought to know and must know the Father. Other requests may take a denial, this will not. It is a life and death request; "For this is life eternal, that they may know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent."

     (4.) It is a noble request. There is something elevated about it; nothing low or paltry. It was worthy of Him to whom it was addressed, and about whom it was made.

     (5.) It is a satisfying request. "Show us the Father, and it sufficeth." The blessing craved would fill the soul. The knowledge of the Father would be all that was needed. Other sights might fill it in part, this would fill it all, so that it would say, "It is enough."

     Have their longings found their way into you? Has this request been the expression of them? Do you know the Father? And what has the knowledge of the Father done for you? Has it filled you? Has it weaned you from all other knowledge, and made you say, This is enough! Are you recognized among men as those who "know the Father ?"

     II. The rebuke. It is the utterance of surprise arid disappointment. The request was not a wrong one; but it need not have been put, had they not been so slow of heart to see and to believe. The reproof is gentle, yet very decided. In it Christ lays his finger on the seat of the evil, and shews how the question betokened an ignorance that ought not to have existed. It is an appeal to themselves, to their past history and converse with Him; to their opportunities of knowing His words, His doings, Himself. Have these years of intercourse been of no avail? Have my words and miracles done nothing? Have you not fathomed me, seen through me, interpreted me? Has all been in vain? "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me?" After all that has been said and done, is it not strange that you should still put the question? At first it was natural; now, after so long a time, it is strange,-all but incredible. How is it that ye have not known me? Have I kept back anything? Have I used obscure words? Has my life been ambiguous? Hast thou not known me? How sayest thou now, Shew us the Father?

     III. The answer. I have shewn you the Father. How and where? In myself. When? All the time I have been with you. I and the Father are one. You could not see me truly without seeing the Father.

     Christ, then, is the Revealer of the Father; the exponent of the Father's mind; the interpreter of the Father's character and purpose. The Word was made flesh in order to shew us God,-that we might see Him with our eyes, hear Him with our ears, touch Him with our hands, converse with him face to face as a man with his friend. "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the word of life; for the Life was manifested" (1 John 1:1, 2). When asked, How shall I realize God?  we answer, Realize Christ. How shall we go to God? Go to Christ. Look into his face; kneel before Him, as the leper did; deal with Him, as did the blind and deaf when He was here. He is in the Father, and the Father in Him. His works and words are the works and words of the Father. His love, and grace, and pity are those of the Father. Know Christ, then, and you know the Father.

     Let us take from all this the following lessons:

     1. We are slow to learn. "Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." When we might have been teachers, we need to be taught the principles of the oracles of God. Slow to hear, slow to learn, slow to believe;-this is our character.

     2. Jesus is swift to teach. Strange contrast. We so slow to learn, He so swift and ready to teach. If we are not wise, it is not our teacher's fault.  "Learn of me," is his message to us daily.

     3. He teaches us about the Father. The Father shews us the Son, and the son shews us the Father.  The invisible is seen in the visible.  If we want to know the unseen God, let us go to Bethlehem, to Nazareth, to Calvary. If we are perplexed about Him who is a Spirit. let us go to Him who has a body like ourselves. He will reveal the Father.