“If You have seen me you have seen the Father” Jn.14:8-9
by Miles McKee
Have you ever been witnessing to someone when all of a sudden they look at you and smugly say,
“Well of course Jesus never claimed to be God, he merely claimed to be the Son of God?”
Oh really? Next time this happens, get them to put the following in their pipe and smoke it. The scripture tells it like this,
“Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?
It doesn’t get any simpler than this. Philip had had enough of hearing references to the Father and asks Jesus plainly to, “Show us the Father”. Christ’s answer is astonishing. Read it carefully. He says, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?”
Was Jesus mistaken about His own identity? Was He merely a good man with a god –consciousness? Or a man possessed by God? Call it whatever way you like, if Jesus is wrong about who He is, He’s a fruitcake. Listen to what He says, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father.” In other words he’s saying, “Philip I’m the visible image of the invisible God. Philip you don’t have to guess anymore about what God is like I am God in human form.”
This is strong stuff and we have not plumed the depth of all that is being said here. One thing we do know for certain is that Jesus here claims to be God. I firmly believe He’s also calling us to take sides. Either He is God or He’s not. How say you?
The Jewish leaders hated Jesus. They had a blind rage against Him. Why? Simply because in Jesus they encountered the God whom they hated. Consider this:
“There was no point of controversy between Jesus and the Jews; Jesus brought no new doctrine unto them. Jesus said, What the masters in Israel teach, what the Pharisees and the Scribes teach, is perfectly correct. There was no dogma which was the cause of controversy between Jesus and the nation; there was no new custom that Jesus introduced: He went into the Temple every day. He observed the ordinances and festivals of Israel. What was the subject of dispute and controversy between Jesus and the Jews? It was no doctrine, it was no innovation, it was Jesus Himself whom they rejected. There was an antipathy in them to the person of Jesus: it was the Lord Himself whom they hated, because they hated the Father. . . . But Jesus knew . . . that it was because He was one with the Father, because He was the express image of His being, because He was the perfect manifestation of the character of God, that they hated Him; and therefore Jesus was pained, not because they hated Him, but because they hated in Him the Father.”
(Adolph Saphir: Christ and Israel)
Remember what John writes at the beginning of his gospel. He says, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” The word translated ‘declared’ is of great interest. It is the Greek word ‘exegeomai’ from which we get the English words exegete and exegesis. When a preacher exegetes a passage of scripture he brings out all that is contained in the passage. He declares what is there. He dare not read into the passage things which are not there otherwise he would be practicing eisegesis and not exegesis. Christ then, according to John 1:18, is the exegesis of God. He has fully declared him. Is it any wonder then that He can say to Philip “If you have seen me you have seen the Father?”
“Christ’s person is a revelation of God. Christ’s work is a revelation of God. He is in the Father and the Father is in Him. His words and works are the words and works of the Father. In the manger He showed us God. In the synagogue of Nazareth He showed us God. At Jacob’s well He showed us God. At the tomb of Lazarus He showed us God. On Olivet as He wept over Jerusalem, He showed us God. On the cross He showed us God. In His resurrection He showed us God. If we say with Philip “Show us the Father and it is sufficient for us”, He answers, “Have I been so long a time with you and yet hast thou not known me? He that has seen me has seen the Father (Jn 14:8-9). This God whom Christ reveals, as the God of righteous grace and gracious righteousness, is the God with whom we have to do.” (Horatius Bonar) ------–