Philip saith unto him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.”
Jesus saith unto him, “Have I been so long time with you, and dost thou not know me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; how sayest thou, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I say unto you I speak not from myself: but the Father abiding in me doeth his works” (John 14:8-10).
We live in a very visual and “concrete” culture. Imagination takes a back seat to entertainment. People declare that they will only believe what they are able to perceive.
In many ways, people have always been like that. For humans to understand things they must have it “broken down” or communicated at their level. That which is concrete is always preferable to abstractions.
How does God, therefore, describe Himself to mankind? He decided to do so fully through Jesus the Christ. As it is written,
No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him (John 1:18).
For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily (Colossians 2:9).
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Hebrews 1:3).
How can we understand the love of God? We see how Jesus emptied Himself of His station to serve mankind, suffering abuse and dying for sin (Philippians 2:5-11, Isaiah 53).
How can we understand the power of God? We see Jesus peforming miracles, healing the sick, raising the dead, and being raised Himself (Matthew 11:5, Matthew 28).
How can we understand the wisdom of God? We see Jesus speaking in parables, setting forth profound truths in easily communicated stories (Matthew 13).
Small wonder it is that Jesus represents the Mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5)– He came as a man, bearing the image of God!
Christianity is often maligned for its “exclusionary” and “intolerant” teaching: Jesus as the only way to the Father. Perhaps it is better to consider the issue differently: if Jesus indeed is the image of God, and when we see what Jesus says and does, we see what God says and does, why would we want to look at anyone else? Where else would we turn to find out about God than the Man in whom God dwelt bodily?
Our belief and confidence, therefore, involves seeing God in Jesus Christ. We learn about the Father through the life and teachings of the Son, and thus be able to devote ourselves to godly living. Thanks be to God for His wonderful gift!
Ethan R. Longhenry