Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father... John 14:9
It's an old story but one which still speaks to my heart. A little girl was drawing a picture in Sunday school when a teacher asked, "What are you drawing?" "God," replied the little girl as she continued to color a brilliant image on her sheet of paper. "But nobody knows what God looks like," responded the teacher. "They will when I am finished," replied the little girl as she confidently continued her work.
In a very real sense, that was the message of the life of Jesus Christ. The 12 walked with Jesus for three years. They saw Him do things that no one else had ever done. The deaf heard. The lame walked. The demons were subject to Him. Having stood on the Mount of Transfiguration, three of them--Peter, James, and John--became witnesses to His glory.
There were no questions in their minds. They believed that no one could do what He did unless... yes, unless He was God. At first, even thinking it was almost heresy. But they could not deny what they had seen and heard. Eventually, they crossed the threshold. They believed it. There was no turning back. Yes, they believed He was God.
Then, the logical issue was, "O.K., Jesus, we believe you are God. Now, what is the Father like?"
It was Philip who served as spokesman, and he voiced that question in the Upper Room, towards the end of Jesus' ministry. Philip didn't ask a lot of questions. He was a deep thinker, but when he asked one, he went for a big one. "Philip said, `Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us'" (John 14:8). In other words, "What is God like?"
"`Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father...'" (John 14:9). Wow! Talk about meeting an issue head on.
Jesus was loving, yet He hated evil.
Jesus was just and fair, yet He was merciful.
He was kind, yet He never minced words in judgment on wrongdoing. Some of His most bitter, scathing words were in rebuke of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, the religious leaders of His day.
He was caring, yet He never overrode the exercise of a person's will. Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell the story of a young man who once came to Jesus asking what he must do to receive eternal life. Mark, however, adds a phrase which the others omit. He tells us, "Jesus looked at him and loved him.... ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor... Then come, follow me,’ said Jesus” (Mark 10:21). But the young man walked away. The price was too great. Jesus, however, gave individuals the right to decide, to exercise their own wills. So is it with the Father. He invites us to worship Him, yet He never forces our allegiance.
Jesus was compassionate, yet there was an end to His patience when His wrath was vented in no uncertain terms. The same hand which held the little children and blessed them also picked up the whip to drive money changers from the temple.
"Like father, like son," we often say, acknowledging that the child resembles the father. And so was it with Jesus Christ, who laid aside the free exercise of His power and authority to live and dwell among us as God touched earth in the person of His Son. If you want to know God, get to know the Son. Jesus was right, "He who has seen me has seen the Father."
Resource reading: John 14:1-15.