14:7-11 "If you had known me, you would have known my Father too. From now on you are beginning to know him, and you have seen him." Philip said to him: "Lord, show us the Father, and that is enough for us." Jesus said to him: "Have I been with you for so long, and you did not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say: 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and that the Father is in me? I am not the source of the words that I speak to you. It is the Father who dwells in me who is doing his own work. Believe me that I am in the Father and that the Father is in me. If you cannot believe it because I say it, believe it because of the very works I do."
It may well be that to the ancient world this was the most staggering thing Jesus ever said. To the Greeks God was characteristically The Invisible, the Jews would count it as an article of faith that no man had seen God at any time. To people who thought like that Jesus said: "If you had known me, you would have known my Father too." Then Philip asked what he must have believed to be the impossible. Maybe he was thinking back to that tremendous day when God revealed his glory to Moses ( Exodus 33:12-23 ). But even in that great day. God had said to Moses: "You shall see my back: but my face shall not be seen." In the time of Jesus men were oppressed and fascinated by what is called the transcendence of God and by thought of the difference and the distance between God and man. They would never have dared to think that they could see God. Then Jesus says with utter simplicity: "He who has seen me has seen the Father."
To see Jesus is to see what God is like. A recent writer said that Luke in his gospel "domesticated God." He meant that Luke shows us God in Jesus taking a share in the most intimate and homely things. When we see Jesus we can say: "This is God living our life." That being so, we can say the most precious things about God.
(i) God entered into an ordinary home and into an ordinary family. As Francis Thompson wrote so beautifully in Ex Ore Infantum:
Little Jesus, wast thou shy
Once, and just so small as I?
And what did it feel to be
Out of Heaven and just like me?
Anyone in the ancient world would have thought that if God did come into this world, he would come as a king into some royal palace with all the might and majesty which the world calls greatness. As George Macdonald wrote:
They all were looking for a king
To slay their foes and lift them high;
Thou cam'st, a little baby thing,
That made a woman cry.
As the child's verse says:
"There was a knight of Bethlehem
Whose wealth was tears and sorrows;
His men at arms were little lambs,
His trumpeters were sparrows."
In Jesus, God once and for all sanctified human birth, sanctified the humble home of ordinary folk and sanctified all childhood.
(ii) God was not ashamed to do a man's work. It was as a working man that he entered into the world; Jesus was the carpenter of Nazareth. We can never sufficiently realize the wonder of the fact that God understands our day's work. He knows the difficulty of making ends meet; he knows the difficulty of the ill-mannered customer and the client who will not pay his bills. He knew all the difficulty of living in an ordinary home and in a big family, and he knew every problem which besets us in the work of every day. According to the Old Testament work is a curse; according to the old story, the curse on man for the sin of Eden was: "In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread" ( Genesis 3:19 ). But according to the New Testament, common work is tinged with glory for it has been touched by the hand of God.
(iii) God knows what it is to be tempted. The life of Jesus shows us, not the serenity, but the struggle of God. Anyone might conceive of a God who lived in a serenity and peace which were beyond the tensions of this world; but Jesus shows us a God who goes through the struggle that we must undergo. God is not like a commander who leads from behind the lines; he too knows the firing-line of life.
(iv) In Jesus we see God loving. The moment love enters into life pain enters in. If we could be absolutely detached, if we could so arrange life that nothing and nobody mattered to us, then there would be no such thing as sorrow and pain and anxiety. But in Jesus we see God caring intensely, yearning over men, feeling poignantly for them and with them, loving them until he bore the wounds of love upon his heart.
(v) In Jesus we see God upon a Cross. There is nothing so incredible as this in all the world. It is easy to imagine a god who condemns men; it is still easier to imagine a God who, if men oppose him, wipes them out. No one would ever have dreamed of a God who chose the Cross to obtain our salvation.
"He who has seen me has seen the Father." Jesus is the revelation of God and that revelation leaves the mind of man staggered and amazed.