Glory be to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
This passage is ripe full of deep doctrine. Some of which is the foundation of our Trinitarian theology. All of it comes from our Saviour’s mouth. We are not going to attempt a marathon expose’ of what hundreds of others have already done. (Their works are in the library – you’ve the riches of the ages are your fingertips. Specifically these five volumes on the Nicene Creed. not sure what to do with this)
You’ve recognized it – right. We’ve had great discussions, lessons and do our best to follow. The exact wording of the Nicene Creed is here about the Trinity — The unique Three Persons as One in the Same. Our Saviour explains the Oneness of God very plainly … but it can only be received by those who have God abiding in them
Philip couldn’t see, because his own eyes had not yet been healed. Or to say another way – he was still blind. He did not have the Holy Spirit indwelling him yet. To start, let’s consider how it is possible for Jesus to be the Father in the world …
“By means of this image the Lord showed Philip the Father. Yes, he who looks on the Son sees, in portrait, the Father.”1
I think this describes a living – real – icon, and is much of the reason we don’t get confused about idols and icons.
So in answer to his question – Christ showed Philip the Father, through the icon (or image) of his own flesh. Here Christ stands before him – a real tangible, touchable, “Image” of God. If you have seen Me, you have seen the father. Here – touch me, feel and now …Not to think, no but to touch, feel, hold, enjoy …
One of the Fathers try’s to explain it this way …
Philip did not deny that the Father could be seen – but only asked that he might see him. He did not ask that the Father should be unveiled so that he could see him with his bodily eyes, but that he might have some further indication that would enlighten him concerning how the Father could be seen.2
He is like you and me – we sing, “I want to know you … I want to touch you … and all kinds of other feeling songs. For he had seen the Son under the aspect of humanity – but, like us, cannot understand how he could thereby have seen the Father. When Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that is enough for us,” he understood well enough, that being shown the Father could satisfy him. But, if the one who is equal to the Father (here is where we often get stuck) was not enough for him, how would the Father be enough?
And for us, here, 2000 years later. We are often, ONLY Jesus, people. Well – how does that square with the word of God in the Flesh. He and “God” are one. How can there be only Jesus? This heresy (modalism) was settled by the church over a thousand years ago. It still surfaces in Oneness Pentecostalism and the Jesus Only movements of today.
We’ve lost our way as Philip would have, if our Saviour hadn’t corrected him. And then, as Philip needed correction – so do I, we …My earthly understanding is not God’s … Not from heaven, but from hell itself. The ruler of this world would blind us to the truth of the Trinity as taught from the beginning, before a Bible ever existed. The Bible is not God. Some have made it their God, but it is not.
So, here are some of the truths of Christ that give a glimpse of the Godhead:
So too – as we celebrate Pentecost – which, by the way didn’t start in the New or 2nd Testament. The Jewish feast of Pentecost (Shavuot) was primarily a thanksgiving for the firstfruits of the wheat harvest after entering in to the Promised Land. We can not only have the Holy Spirit of God, exclusively…Many have tripped into this Heresy also – here even in Toronto …We have God, and Him in totality – or completeness.
As we gather together, from house to house, we are His living body on earth. We ingest His Body and Blood – which is the life of God being worked into our physical being. His life fuels our motivations, joy and sorrows. The life of God – flows out of us. Yes – in Spirit and … in truth (or reality) I and the Father are One. What I do – He does through Me. Even if you don’t understand this believe because of the works you have seen done through Me.
Christ’s works are possible for us, and even greater, because He has gone to the Father and, as He obeyed the Father and did great works. If we obey, catch here is doesn’t say, “understand” – but obey! If we obey – the Spirit of Truth will come into us and empower us to do the works of Christ. Keeping His commandments is not burdensome, as some may think – it’s not a list. It is simply to love – both God and those around us.
As we do our best to obey, the Advocate helps our weakness to accomplish His will. The love of God is poured into (the indwelling of) our hearts by the Holy Spirit – St Paul in Rom 5:5. We can not do God’s works without God, the Holy Spirit, enabling us. Our part is the obeying – the doing (which is the demonstration of faith) … His part is completing it. He (God) in the person of the Holy Spirit, will be with us forever – still, all of God, not just a slice …
Good to stop here and again see the Trinity – VRS 26 … (as in VRS 16, already). But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. The Oneness of God in the Three Persons is explained again here:
Christ says, He will never leave us – but He is going to heaven to where the Father is …And, just as Our Saviour explained in the opening, seeing Him we would see the Father. The Holy Spirit is the same as having Jesus with us continually.
Peace – comes from the presence of God with us. I will never leave you or forsake you. Not as the world sees peace i.e. with riches, circumstances, ease or acceptance. St Paul tells us, that we are His “if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.” We read here Jesus’ words, “Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” Where we lose our peace is when we look at the waves, or the numbers or the tragedies.
“I am with you” Jesus says – as He was in the boat, feeding the crowds, raising the dead. God is the same in the Father and in the Son and in the Holy Spirit. But – it doesn’t take long for me to lose my sight again …For me I “leak” as some have said. I think it’s more like becoming dull of hearing and of obeying. We need constant reminders – all that we do, think and say should be pointing us and each other to God.
On Pentecost as we celebrate the receiving of the Spirit of God on the Church. We acknowledge the ability to receive Him through the Eucharist. As we put the Holy Body and Holy Blood of God into our bodies. And then, in obedience – we take Him, God, into the hurting and watching world. Through doing His works, we are proving our faith.
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit
~ Rev Fr. Pat
1 Joel C. Elowsky and Thomas C. Oden Editors, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture New Testament IVb (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2007), 129
Vrelant, Guillaume, -1481. Pentecost, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=56943 [retrieved August 9, 2019]. Original source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Willem_Vrelant_(Flemish,_died_1481,_active_1454_-_1481)_-_Pentecost_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg.