By David Baumann
A Reading from the Gospel of John 14:1-14
14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. 4And you know the way to the place where I am going.” 5Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” 9Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. 12Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”
Not long ago a close family member posted on Facebook that her two-year-old daughter was having a hard time falling asleep. Nothing she tried worked. Finally the child lay in her father’s arms and fell asleep easily. Above is the photograph of the child sleeping with her father’s strong arms wrapped around her, from her mother’s Facebook post. This is the heart of today’s lesson; it is the heart of the Christian message; it is the heart of all human desire and need. Philip spoke correctly; his is the voice of all humanity: “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”
Why, then, did Jesus chastise him? Because Philip, a companion of Jesus who had heard his teaching and seen his miracles, had not yet understood that in Jesus he had seen the Father already. Jesus had just said, “If you had known me, you would have known my Father also.” And not long before, he had taught publicly, “Whoever sees me sees him who sent me” (John 12:45). Jesus’ words to his disciples in this quiet and safe time of the Last Supper were about an intimacy and a promise beyond any hope, desire, or vision that any human being can devise alone.
“I go to prepare a place for you… and will take you to myself, that where I am, you may be also.” The Father is not the Son, but the Father is in the Son, in words and in works and more, so that when one knows the Son, one knows the Father. In the first chapter of John’s Gospel, John writes, “No one has ever seen God; it is the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.” A child shows us.
David Baumann has been an Episcopal priest for 47 years, mainly in the Diocese of Los Angeles and the Diocese of Springfield. He is now retired and has published nonfiction, science fiction novels, and short stories.
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Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer
Today we pray for:
St. George’s Episcopal Church, Nashville, Tenn.
The Diocese of Belize (Church in the Province of the West Indies)