Summary: Jesus explains the compound unity between the Father and the Son
The Knowledge of Jesus and the Father John 14:6-11
In our last study we concluded with Jesus’ triple claim of exclusivity in John 14:6: Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Jesus is the only way to God the Father, the very personification of Truth, and the center and giver of Life. The only way that these things could be true is if Jesus is indeed the Word Incarnate of God.
Jesus is the final revelation of the Father. Later the writer of Hebrews 1:1-3 states: “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
Whether the Jews of Jesus’ day or people today really know God through any revelation, including the Old Testament, all is tested against the revelation of God to us in Jesus Christ.
These words of Jesus, “I am the way, the truth and the life,” make it clear that all other religions are ineffective to bring people to the One True God. Jesus alone is The Way.
Knowing Jesus is Knowing the Father
Today we continue in verses 7-9: "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him." 8 Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us." 9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'?”
Oh, the holy, patient frustration the Lord Jesus must have felt. The disciples had been Jesus’ constant companions for 3 and a half years, witnessed His greatest teachings, signs, miracles and His flawless life but still they did not fully or completely trust Jesus as God Incarnate. They failed to comprehend that God had made Himself known in the Person of Jesus. Philip, as well as the other disciples, still desired more proof from Jesus, maybe a vision of God, or perhaps a theophany like their fathers saw in Old Testament times.
You have to realize that this isn’t the first time Jesus has spoken concerning His deity and association and relationship with the Father. In John 10:30, Jesus asserted: “I and My Father are one”. In saying this, Jesus claimed to be one with God in the sense of being equal to Him in essence and power. Jesus also claimed preexistence in the Father’s presence (John 10:36) and asserted that He had existed before Abraham in John 8:58, saying; “Before Abraham was, I AM”).
Another Self-Revelation: mutual interpenetration of the Father and the Son
So Jesus once again provides a self-revelation to His disciples in verse 10: “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.”
Theologians refer to these verses as Jesus’ direct statement of the mutual interpenetration of the Father and the Son. He made similar statements, one being back in John 10:30 when Jesus said, “I and My Father are One.” At that time the Jews understood that Jesus had expressed His deity. (We have only to look at their reaction in John 10:31-“Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him.”)
The simplest explanation to the mutual interpenetration or mutual co-inherence is that there is a mutual indwelling of the Father and Son in at least two aspects: In essence as well as in relationship, and this is proven or tested in the undeniable works of Jesus. The challenge in John’s Gospel is the difficulty for human beings to comprehend Jesus’ dual nature while on earth, being human and divine. Jesus’ nature is complex: His human nature is subordinate to the Father and His divine nature is subordinate to the Father while at the same time essentially equal to the Father.
While Jesus is on in essential unity with the Father, He is also at the same time subordinate relationally with the Father since the works and words of Jesus are given to Him by the Father and not the other way around. (John 8:28, 12:49) Jesus will shortly promise the Holy Spirit as the third person of the Triune God, so that without the doctrine of the Trinity, the New Testament would be unintelligible; we understand the Trinity from the teaching of the New Testament yet because of our finite-ness (we are mere creatures who are confined and limited to space and time,) our understanding is limited.