A Study of John 14:8-9
“Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and It sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?”
To the living child of God, when guided by the blessed Spirit into an intelligent apprehension of the circumstances surrounding the text, much that is profitable and much that is painful appears. In the failures and follies, weaknesses and ignorances of those dear ones whom the Lord Jesus Christ had special regard to, the child of God sees and feels his own.
Sins, a long time forgotten, are brought to light, and grievous offences, which apparently had passed away from the memory forever, reappear in intensified enormity; but, blessed be God, they are discovered in the best of all spots, even in the presence of him with whom elect and redeemed ones have to do, at the feet of the best, the kindest, and the most patient of all teachers, who never wearies in repeating his gracious lessons for the instruction and consolation of his poor dull scholars, and for his Father’s glory.
We will first of all notice the circumstances surrounding the text. Our blessed Lord and Master was bidding farewell to his beloved disciples. He saw that sorrow and trouble filled their heart, not hearts. They had one heart (Jeremiah 32:39), and were all of one mind, which was fixed on one Object. He who had sanctified them and they the sanctified were all of one, therefore, he was not ashamed to call them brethren, bear with their ignorance, pity their infirmities, and keep them company to the bitter end.
We have a little bit of encouragement in the revelation of these things this morning. Their failings were so many opportunities for the display of the rich and unfailing grace of Jesus. Their forgetfulness was an opportunity for the manifestation of the condescension of the covenant Remembrancer. Their sins, felt and mourned over, were so many calls upon his grace, and for the display of his saving power. Their sorrows were their claims upon his sympathy, and their pleas for those words of consolation which flow from his grace-filled lips to their oppressed and weary hearts. Yes, they were of one mind, of one heart, yet there was a diversity in the exercises of their spirits. This proves the diversity which exists in the experiences of the children of God, and at the same time their blessed oneness of heart in reference to the great and glorious Head, as their Saviour from all sin, their Comforter in all sorrow, and their Deliverer out of all trouble.
“Let not your heart be troubled,” said the Lord Jesus Christ to them. The free-willer and the legalist quote this portion only to torment and tantalize the tried and tempted child of God. These say, You see, there is such wonderful grace in this command of our Lord Jesus Christ that it is your duty in all times of trouble to obey him.
What? a poor child of God beaten, bound, and beset by the devil, tossed to and fro upon a sea of doubt and conflict, carried hither and thither whither he would not, to talk to him of duty would be but to mock and distress, and increase his trouble.
Our blessed Lord knew the troubles then exercising his disciples’ heart, and that “tribulation, more or less,” would be the lot of all those who knew anything of the sweets of his gracious presence, and who mourned his absence; therefore, he said, “Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in me.” This is a precious declaration of his sovereign power and love to the souls of his tried and tempted people.
As in the first creation, “Let there be llght,” was the declaration of his glorious sovereignty and almighty power; so when he speaks to us, there must of necessity, and that a divine necessity, be a great calm, and the enjoyment of that sweet peace which the world can neither give nor take away.
Why should he say “your heart” and not “your hearts”?
Because, according to the previous chapter, the traitor, the devil had departed from among them. Judas the betrayer was gone to accomplish his hellish design. “He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night” (John 13:30).
Ay, and you may rest assured it was night in more ways than one to Judas. “Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.”
See! All restraint was gone. The Brother born for adversity could then breathe freely and speak without reserve to the heart of the little company of his brethren who were spiritually one with him.
Now let us notice the incidents recorded in the chapter before us, in which the varied ignorances and infirmities of his disciples appear. As we look at truth appearing on the surface we are puzzled.
Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?” (John 14:2-5).
Thomas gives a flat contradiction to the Lord’s declaration; but he speaks from the experience of a heart that did not know everything. Look at our Lord’s statement. Mark well Thomas’s contradiction.
Which is true?
Jesus speaks from his own unerring knowledge of facts. Thomas speaks from his weak experience. Jesus and Thomas clash; but they clash to agree.
Which is true?
Both. Thomas knew and loved the Lord Jesus Christ; but he did not see in him the way to the Father as he was to know him afterward. Look at that scripture (Hosea 6:3), “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD.”
All taught of the Lord, as was Thomas, must know and follow on to know the Lord. Jesus spoke to the disciples according to the knowledge he had of all the blessings which the Father had treasured up in him for his people. Thomas spoke from the weak apprehension he had of the grace and the glory which Christ was then opening up to his wondering heart. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me” (John 14:6).
Our Jesus is a patient, considerate Teacher. “Who teacheth like him?” (Job 36:22).
Now look at verse 22: “Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?”
You see in this question the ignorance of Judas concerning the ways and works of God, yet a panting, yearning, and desiring after the knowledge of God’s mind and will in the salvation of his people.
Judas (not Iscariot) did not say, Oh, the Lord loves everybody, and everybody has a chance to be saved and come into an experimental acquaintance with him. Not that; but Judas asks according to the intense yearnings of an elect, redeemed, and living soul.
He asks in perfect keeping with the lessons he had received from his infallible Teacher, “Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?”
He did not at that time comprehend the sovereign, discriminating, and distinguishing grace of JEHOVAH, and JEHOVAH’S right to do as he will with his own creatures. Yet in patient grace a precious Jesus bears with his infirmities, and as he was wont he taught him again.
Turning from these, we come to notice the disciple who appears in the portion I have read by way of text — Philip. Of him we read in chapter 1:43-46: “The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And. Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.”
Philip was evidently a matter-of-fact man.
Did Jesus find him?
He findeth Nathanael.
Does Nathanael question?
Philip says, “Come and see.” In chapter 12:20, 22, we read that certain Greeks came to him saying, “Sir, we would see Jesus.” These were not like the poor woman who made her way through the press and went to him herself; but, moved by fleshly expediency or fear, they approach him through a go-between, and we are not told that they were even introduced to him. Captive souls who yearn for the liberty of the sons of God, and who know that there can be no true freedom experienced apart from Christ, want not a go-between. They are satisfied with nothing short of personal contact and communion with him. Philip knew this, and, in the experience of something of his own want and weakness, he looked up into the face of his loving Lord and Master, saying, “Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.”
We will now notice —
I. PHILIP’S WEAKNESS AND IGNORANCE — ”Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.”
II. JESUS’ ATTACHMENT TO HIS DISCIPLES — ”Have I been so long time with you?”
III. PHILIP’S FORGETFULNESS — ”And yet hast thou not known me, Philip?”
IV. JESUS’ LESSON OF LOVE — “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?”
I. PHILIP’S WEAKNESS AND IGNORANCE, as seen in his request: “Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” It is evident from this request that Philip expected some marvellous or extraordinary revelation of the Father, differing from that which Jesus gives to his disciples. He wanted a sign from heaven which was in keeping with the false and foolish notions of the Jews in his day. This we gather from the language of our blessed Lord to the nobleman recorded in chapter 4:48: “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.”
In Philip we see a poor, weak, short-sighted disciple asking for greater things than Jesus would grant. “Shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.”
Is it not astonishing that such a request should be made in the face of the experience recorded in the scriptures of truth?
It was the conviction of the devout Jew that a sight of JEHOVAH in his naked glory would be attended with instant death. Turn with me to Genesis 32:30, where it is recorded that Jacob, after his wrestle with the covenant-Angel, expressed his astonishment that he should have seen God and his life be preserved. Yes, I believe it is perfectly true that a sight of God’s naked glory would be the end of our natural, moral, and rational existence before him. The moment his glory in the person of Jesus Christ strikes our eyes—where are we? The sight is death to all the joys and comforts which this vain world can afford. A spiritual view of God in Christ kills the soul to the enjoyment of every earthly pleasure upon which it may have feasted heretofore.But let us look at the varied revelations which God made of himself to his ancient people as recorded in the Old Testament scriptures. See Judges 6:22: “Gideon said, Alas, O Lord GOD! for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face.”
See Judges 13:22-23: “And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God. But his wife said unto him, If the LORD were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have shewed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these.”
A sight of JEHOVAH’S glory in the temple caused Isaiah to cry out, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts,” (Isaiah 6:5).
Turn with me to Daniel 10:7-8: “And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.”
Come with me to the New Testament. Acts 9 reveals a full-fledged professor, a zealous persecutor.
But the moment the glory of that Light shone upon him, where was he?
Struck to the ground, and dead to all the religion he previously possessed. See Romans 8 passim. Now turn to Revelation 1:17, Christ as the glorious King-Priest appeared to John, the highly-favoured John who was privileged to lean upon his bosom and drink in so much of his spirit of love. Listen to the language of his disciple: “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead.”
If this be the case in the revelation of JEHOVAH in the person of the Mediator, the revelation of God in the person of the Daysman, I ask, What must be the effect of the sight of him in his naked glory?
What must we be at the revelation of an absolute God?
But, mark you, it pleases God, in the riches of his grace and mercy, to reveal himself to his people in the person of a Man like unto ourselves.
“This wondrous Man of whom we tell,
Is true almighty God;
He bought our souls from death and hell;
The price, his own heart’s blood.
That human heart he still retains,
Though throned in highest bliss;
And feels each tempted member’s pains:
For our affliction’s his.”
Yes, it is the joy and delight of the hearts of those who have been brought by the Holy Ghost into an experimental acquaintance with him, to have the Father revealed to them and in them through his glorious person, perfect work, and sweet intercession, and thus bless, praise, and adore his precious name for such marvellous condescension to hell-deserving and good-for-nothing sinners. Let us turn away from the inquiry of Philip to the gracious reply of his Master.
II. JESUS’ ATTACHMENT TO HIS DISCIPLES — “Have I been so long time with you?”
Our blessed Lord and Saviour had not been a mere visitor with his disciples, but he tarried with them. Man, amid the perfections of the old creation, only experienced the presence of God now and then. He was a Visitor; but amid the ruins of a blighted creation, where redeemed man experiences sin, weakness, and infirmity, God is a Dweller and an Abider. He tarries with his weaklings, deserts not his waverers, and forsakes not his wanderers, according to his own precious promise, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee,” (Hebrews 13:5).
Notice those two blessed words, “with you.” In Mark 3:13-14, you see our blessed Lord and Master calling unto him whom he would to be with him. “And he goeth up into a mountain.” Blessings on his sacred head, he is now on the mount of full-acceptance, the mount of intercession.
He “calleth unto him whom he would.” As a glorious Sovereign he still calls and leaves whom he will.
“And they came unto him.” His will cannot be frustrated. His call cannot be resisted.
“And he ordained twelve, that they should be WITH HIM,” — in blessed communication and communion.
“And that he might send them forth to preach.” No man can truly preach God’s gospel unless he has been with Jesus. He may go to college and remain there as long as he likes, or he may identify himself with a gospel church, and learn from magazines, obituaries, or from the Bible itself, to describe and trace out the gracious experience of a child of God; but, except he has been with Jesus, and Jesus has been with him on the mount of rejoicing and in the vale of tribulation, see, that man cannot reach the deep-felt necessities of the elect, redeemed, and regenerate people of God; neither can there be any real and vital communion between him and them.
Ah, my dear friends, What is it makes a God-sent man fly as it were into the very heart’s embraces of the living family of God?
It is because that man has been with Jesus and has been taught by Jesus. He has been with him in his sufferings, sorrows, temptations, and tribulations. In spirit he has entered Gethsemane’s gloomy vale to watch, and weep, and pray with the Man of sorrows. He has been blessed with spiritual acquaintance with him in the power of his resurrection, the fellowship of his sufferings and conformity to his death, and is thus enabled to enter into the varied exercises and experiences of the tried and tempted brethren of the Brother born for adversity, and also, thus become their instructor, comforter, and guide, and a God-made nursing father to them.
“Have I been so long time with you?”
See how he walked with them in all their wilderness wanderings, supported them in all their weaknesses and waverings, comforted them in all their sorrows, stood up for them against all accusers, counselled them in all difficulties, defended them in all dangers, and cheered them in the midst of all persecutions. He was with them in solitude and desertion, and shared with them the joys of his Father’s presence. But, though he had carried to them the good news of salvation, grace, and glory, though he had expounded to them the way of life, though he had taught them again and again that every revelation of the Father’s will and pleasure must be through himself, and himself alone, yet ignorance characterized them at ever step. This is seen in the experience of the two disciples with whom he walked on the way to Emmaus. Though they had listened to his lessons of grace, yet they understood him not, which called forth from his grace-filled lips the reproof, “0 fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:25-27). You see this ignorance again in the case of poor Thomas. He had heard the Master’s testimony that he should rise again, and now the disciples say unto him, “We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe,” (John 20:25).
Thomas was an honest doubter, an unbelieving believer. There are many such in God’s family nowadays, who love to linger at the feet of Jesus the patient Teacher, who deals so gently and tenderly with all those whom the Father in covenant committed to his care.
“Have I been so long time with you?” Let us look at this in the light of that glorious union existing between God’s first Elect, and all those favoured ones included in the election of grace.
How long had he been with them?
From the days of eternity.
Dear old John Kent could sing of this so gloriously:—
“Heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus,
Long ere time its race began;
To his name eternal praises;
O what wonders love has done,
One with Jesus,
By eternal union ONE.”
Who can describe it?
None. It is of indescribable duration. No beginning. No ending. From the beginning, or ever the earth was, a precious Christ has been with all those in grace union with himself.
“In union with the Lamb,
From condemnation free,
The saints from everlasting were,
And shall for ever be.”
In covenant they were with him, and he was with them, as we see in John 17:23-24: “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.”
God has graciously revealed the same truth in Proverbs 8:30-31, a portion upon which there has been much controversy here. One says this scripture speaks of Christ, and another says, Nay, it speaks of the covenant. Well, what is the covenant without Christ, and what is Christ without the covenant? Christ was given as a covenant for his covenant people. See! “Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth: and MY DELIGHTS WERE WITH THE SONS OF MEN.” Do notice that! He was with them in covenant before the worlds were framed. Look still further.
“Have I been so long time with you” in communication?
A marvellous communication of grace and of glory is made to the heart of every elect vessel of mercy in regeneration. We see this in the case of Saul of Tarsus. On his way to Damascus he heard a voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” Up to that moment this religious sinner was dead in trespasses and sins, and the communication of spiritual and eternal life to him was in the revelation of the precious truth that tender sympathy ever flowed from the great and glorious Head up yonder to his tried and tempted members down here. He knew Saul’s name. He knows the names of all his saints.
Are they not written in his book from the foundation of the world?
Are they not inscribed on the breast-plate of their great and glorious High Priest?
Are not their names, circumstances, and necessities deep in the affections and tender sympathies of his heart?
The thought of this causes the heart to sing,
“My name from the palms of his hands,
Eternity will not erase;
Impress’d on his heart it remains,
In marks of indelible grace.
Yes, I to the end shall endure,
As sure as the earnest is given;
More happy, but not more secure,
The glorified spirits in heaven.”
Every blessing, bounty, and benefit of the covenant must be communicated by the Spirit of Christ which dwelleth in us.
“Have I been so long time with you” in communion?
What know we of oneness with a precious Christ in this matter?
Turn to that precious second chapter of Hosea. He speaks of His eternally-loved one and says, “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.”
Or, as you read in the margin, “to her heart, or friendly.” The Lord Jesus Christ alone can speak to the heart of his people words of love and affection; to the heart of his tried ones, words of comfort; to the heart of his sin-burdened brethren, words of pardon and forgiveness; to the heart of his captives, the assurance of deliverance out of every difficulty and distress.
Now mark! If there are the sweets of communion, there must be also the bitter of conflict. Turn over to Luke 22:28: “Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations.” As assuredly as the Head of the church was tempted, so will each and every one of the members be tempted and brought into the feeling realization of fellowship with him in his sufferings, in which their saddened heart will sigh for blessed deliverance there from. He who once suffered for his dear people, is with them in all the afflictions they endure. See how blessedly this is set forth in the prophecies of Isaiah. Turn to chapter 43:1-3: “But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, 0 Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be WITH THEE; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour.”
Whatever affliction may befall the children of God, they have his gracious promise, “I am with thee,” and the performance of it is secured in the covenant. No child of God can look him in the face and say, that in one trial, in one affliction, in one tribulation, in one moment of conflict, was his faithfulness to his promise lacking, or the strength of JEHOVAH-JESUS failing in the needful time of trouble. When cares and anxieties are worming their weary way through the sad spirits of his people, he will prove himself to be a God ready to save and nigh at hand to bless. This is blessedly set forth in Lamentations 3:55-57: “I called upon thy name, O LORD, out of the low dungeon. Thou hast heard my voice: hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry.”
“Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not” Well might our blessed Jesus say to Philip, “Have I been so long time with you?” With you in covenant, in communication, in communion, in conflict, and in care—blessing you in communion, encouraging you in conflict, upholding you in distress, comforting you when sorrows seemed to press you down, bearing your burdens when cares and crosses were multiplied.
This brings us to consider briefly — III. PHILIP’S FORGETFULNESS — “And yet hast thou not known me, Philip?”
Have we any forgetful Philips here this morning?
There is a forgetful Thomas in the pulpit. He who has revealed himself to me and in me as my own covenant God, as my own crucified Saviour, as my own counselling Friend and Companion, knows me to be the same forgetful one when left to myself for a single moment.
Let me ask some of you, How long time has he been with you?
Some have been members of this church for over fifty years.
Have you been very mindful of him all that time?
Bless him, he has been mindful of his covenant, and has never forgotten you.
Can you boast much of the increase of your joys, the strengthening of your faith, the confirming of your hope, and your freedom from Satan’s assaults?
Has it not been rather, that your sorrows have increased, your faith weakened, your hope wavering, and Satan’s assaults have been thicker than ever?
Yet there is comfort and consolation for you in these precious words of Jesus: “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?”
Jesus acts not the part of censor. He says not to Philip, Because of thy forgetfulness and short-sightedness, I will discard thee. Oh, no. He seems to draw him still closer and closer to him with words of sweet encouragement.
Hast thou not known me as thy Provider in every time of need?
Thy Deliverer from every danger?
Thy Saviour from every sin?
Oh, may he say to us through his preached gospel, “Have I been so long time with you people at “The Grove” who know my name, who feast upon my love, and long to become more and more acquainted with me?”
Have I been so long time with you, teaching you my own sweet lessons of love and grace, speaking to you words of free forgiveness, perfect peace, and everlasting consolation?
Yet, you are in your old spots of failure, confessing your sins, acknowledging your doubts and fears, failures and follies, temptations and tribulations, sins and sorrows. Though you have been so forgetful of me as your Saviour and Sustainer, Companion and Counsellor, Guardian and Guide, yet, in the face of all your infirmities and imperfections, I pledge my word to you that I can never give you up. I took you to myself in covenant; you are the purchase of my blood, the fruit of my agonies and sorrows, the conquest of my Spirit, and the eternally-loved ones of my heart; therefore, I will never, no never, no never forsake you. The greater your extremity, the brighter the opportunity for the display of my Father’s grace in that salvation which is in me with eternal glory.
IV. JESUS’ LESSON OF LOVE — “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father: and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?”
If we continue to read the following verses, we shall see the way in which Jesus still further opened up to Philip the love of his heart, the glory of his person, and the perfection of his mediatorial work, for his address to Philip continues to the end of the 21st verse: “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself? but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake. Verily, verily I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”
Because I finish the work which my Father gave me to do, and I go to render a faithful account of my stewardship to him, because I shall ever live to make intercession for you, and the Comforter will come to guide you into all truth, my believing brethren shall do greater works still.
“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.” Anything asked in the name of Christ, anything sought by the teaching of the Holy Ghost.
See! It is not, I will enable you to obtain or do it, but I will do it for you.
“I came…not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (John 6:38); and every performance of that will for you shall be experienced in you by the grace and power of my Spirit. Through the felt want of the blessings which my Father designed for you through me, you shall, you must ask me for them, and I will do all for you. Blessed Saviour, reveal thyself more and more to our waiting hearts.
“He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” It is our mercy to know, as sound and experimental Trinitarians, that there can never be any dissension between the Father and the Son. The Father and the Son in the oneness with the Spirit, in the undivided Godhead, know nothing of disagreement. They are one in essence, one in mind, one in counsel, one in covenant, one in communion, one in will, one in grace, and one in glory—three, yet graciously, gloriously, and eternally one. The whole of this gospel of John is given for the manifestation of the Son’s equality with the Father and Father’s oneness with the Son. As the Mediator of the covenant, and the Father’s righteous Servant and Son, he is the object of unceasing and ineffable delight.
See! He is God’s Christ. The Saviour of the Father’s choice and appointing, who brings to him a revenue of eternal praise from the adoring hearts of all those whom he, in his great love and unspeakable mercy, has saved. “I and my Father are one,” said the Lord Jesus Christ (John 10:30); and if we wish for any gracious revelation of the Father to our waiting hearts, it can only be by, in, through, and with him. You see this in chapter 1:18: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”
That is, no man, with his natural understanding, reason, will, or ability, by the help of creation, providence, law, or experience can know or enjoy God as a Father and Friend. This blessed privilege is only by his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. The Son is the interpreter of the Father’s will. He is the expounder of the Father’s mind. He is the expositor of the Father’s counsel. He is the communicator of the Father’s secret to every one of those who are spiritually one with him. All who know him know also the Father who sent him. He had oft-times revealed the wonderful secrets of the covenant to his disciples, who still manifested their ignorance and forgetfulness, yet he was ever the same kind, loving, patient Teacher, revealing his Father’s abounding grace, abundant compassion, and never-failing mercy. Oh, what sweet encouragement we find in that precious declaration: “Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end” (John 13:1).
When all the purposes of the Father are fulfilled in us here below, and our gracious Lord will have introduced us into the glory he has in store for us, then he will reveal to us the fullness of his love, and bless us with the rich enjoyment of that hinted at by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:9-12: “Now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
Then we shall revel in the full experience of that blessedness of which we obtain but a glimpse in 1 John 3:2: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
May the Lord add his blessing.
By Thomas Bradbury