Philip said to him, Lord, show us the Father, and it suffises us.…
The mystery of "going away" was deepened when the Master declared that through Him they were to know the Father. The surprise of Thomas, whose faith was dull, but whose love was, nevertheless, genuine — was natural; while the sentiment of Philip was a sort of desperate clutching at something very glorious, but very difficult of obtaining. For an absent Son he asked, as the only compensation, a manifested Father. His words show us —
I. THE GREAT WANT OF MANKIND. God has not left Himself without witness, and not the least of His evidences is that our nature is ever seeking Him. The question of Philip —
1. Asserts the knowledge of the Father as that which suffices. It is an assertion of our grandeur. Ours are not glow worm faculties; ours no owl-like souls. No dim vision, no starlight manifestations can content us. Our capacity takes in the universe, and then cries, "Show us the Father," etc. Less than such a desire is a degradation of man. Less is to make his nature a dwarfed and sickly thing.
2. Echoes the cry of the races. Our nature is not always conscious that it is after Him; but it reaches and calls after what is in Him alone. The savage approaches the conception of power by his adoration of strength; the sage the worship of infinite understanding through study of the truth; the artist through his vision of the beautiful; the poet through his dream of the right and good. The world swings round, and men catch single gleams of Godhead, and know not what it is — only something great and noble.
3. Is the instructed soul asking for the Father. It is not scepticism searching for a deity — an insensate principle. It is not half convinced doubt feeling along the links of creation after a first cause. It is not amiable optimism out in immeasurable extension of beneficent actuality asking for a Creator. It is awakened faith seeking its author; a hungry soul searching a satisfying love.
II. WANT, UNCONSCIOUS OF NEAR SUPPLY.
1. Men go afar for the knowledge at their doors; nay, at their very feet. They search after the mystery of God. They sound for Him in depths; they climb for Him in the heights! Yet His footprints are on every green, His hand touches on each flower and shrub and spire. Gentle and Titanic forces alike declare Him. Could I give the atom a tongue, it would cry, "Have I been so long time with you, and have I not spoken to you of God?" The river sings as it hastens oceanward, "Have I been so long time with you, and have you not seen God reflected in my silver beauty?" Oh, blindness, which can fail to discern Him I Has that word lain by you so long with promise, covenant, and command, and yet have you not known the God it discloses?
2. Philip's error was, that he had looked elsewhere than to Christ for the vision of the Father. God had been described. He had been promised. For the first time he was manifested. His love came out in Christ's Divine human voice, and was in the touch of those human fingers. It was the Father's authority in the "Go in peace and sin no more." It was the Father's majesty in the awakening voice at the grave of Lazarus. Yet it was God incarnate, and Philip knew it not.Conclusion: There is profound significance to us in the lesson of Jesus to Philip.
1. We are to find the Father in the Only-begotten, who dwelt in His bosom, and hath declared Him. You can neither understand Him in His works or word until you study both through the Incarnation. Around that, as we look steadily, both a theology and a theodicy must crystallise. Our knowledge of Jesus is through faith, and through that our knowledge of the Father becomes experimental.
2. It is hence that we know the infinite. Christ's mediation stretches a cord between heart-love and God-love, soul-life and God-life, human nature and Divine nature. It answers nothing as to mysteries it oversweeps. It is silent as to riddles of theology and questions of schoolmen. But it touches us here, God there; we touch it with our guilt, He with His compassion. We apprehend the Infinite we can never comprehend. Jesus came to reveal the Father who hears prayer, who governs in providences, who smiles upon His child; who sees the prodigal, foot sore and tattered, yet trying to come home, and runs to meet him.
(T. M. Eddy, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
WEB: Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us."