May 30, 2004

John 14:8-17 (25-27)

[8] Philip said, "Master, show us the Father; then we'll be content."

[9] "You've been with me all this time, Philip, and you still don't understand? To see me is to see the Father. So how can you ask, 'Where is the Father?' [10] Don't you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you aren't mere words. I don't just make them up on my own. The Father who resides in me crafts each word into a divine act.

[11] "Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can't believe that, believe what you see—these works. [12] The person who trusts me will not only do what I'm doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I've been doing. You can count on it. [13] From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I'll do it. That's how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. [14] Whatever you request in this way, I'll do.

[15] "If you love me, show it by doing what I've told you. [16] I will talk to the Father, and he'll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. [17] This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can't take him in because it doesn't have eyes to see him, doesn't know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you!

. . . .

[25] "I'm telling you these things while I'm still living with you. [26] The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. [27] I'm leaving you well and whole. That's my parting gift to you. Peace. I don't leave you the way you're used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don't be upset. Don't be distraught.

[The Message]

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 1. Apparently Philip had a different picture of GOD than the one Jesus was revealing. The same seems true of each of us as we discount one aspect of Jesus' presence, or another. One of the ways this shows up is in the inability we have to talk together about our different visions of GOD in Christ Jesus without getting angry and sinning against one another. I expect that Jesus is still sorrowing over our not understanding the fullness of GOD, Jesus, or one another.

 2. It is this limitation on our vision that gets in the way of our doing any of the "greater things" Jesus sees as present in us. This is not just an individual potential, but one addressed to us in the aggregate. It would be helpful to bring in Matthew 18:19 here, "if two of you agree … it will be done…." This is not a democratic way to go about this, as if we might get a minority elected on a technicality or that 51% means all. This is when we can all agree – the greater will come to be and, guess what, the greatest of these is love.

3. So what is needed to be able to turn Jesus' words into our actions? Two things come to mind. One is Peace that sets up the opportunity to interact with one another. Two is remembering to take advantage of said Peace by being unified in a larger picture of ourselves together than we've had.

 Let's not give up. Let not our hearts be troubled that we've not made it past Philip responses so far; we still can. Let us not be upset and distraught that we have identified more with Philip than with Jesus. Even in the midst of misunderstanding - GOD is steadfastly reminding us of the possibility of love in the midst of great diversity, love so great it comes to unify us, love that continues to grow and go the distance.

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