Summary: God wants to touch us. He wants us to see him. He took on flesh and blood to make it possible. Beyond that, God wants to spend eternity with us. That’s what we were made for.
Do you like family pictures? When Jennifer was born we took thousands of pictures of her. She would smile and we’d snap another picture. I remember getting a roll of film developed one time and seeing about 36 pictures, (actually 72 with double prints), of almost exactly the same expression and background.
They say a picture paints a thousand words. Some people are very good at using words to paint pictures. An old proverb goes: He is the best teacher who can turn an ear into an eye.
How would you like to have a picture of Jesus? A recent special on TV was called the many faces of Jesus. Several depictions of what Jesus might have looked like were presented. It is amazing how artists have tried to capture the face of Jesus in their paintings. Most of them look more like the race and culture of the artist than the actual race and culture of first century Jews. Have you ever been curious about what Jesus looked like? Interestingly enough, with 4 gospel writers telling us about him, we have almost nothing to go on as to his looks. The best information in the Bible about his physical features comes from the Old Testament. Isaiah 53 tells us that he was one from whom men hide their faces and that He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.. Isaiah does say he had a beard. We see this in a messianic prophecy in Isaiah 50: 6 I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting. 7 For the Lord GOD helps Me, Therefore, I am not disgraced; Therefore, I have set My face like flint, And I know that I shall not be ashamed.
The disciples saw Jesus face to face. John says they touched him with their hands. He was physically present for them to see and touch and hear. They saw the Word of God who is God… they saw him. Not just with their eyes, but with their faith. Jesus once commented.
Matt 13: 17 "For truly I say to you, that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it; and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John have painted word pictures of God for us as seen in Jesus. John is the most specific in presenting Jesus to us as the express presence of the Father. We pick up now in John 14:7 and enter Jesus conversation with Philip.
John 14:7 "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him."
8 Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us."
9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, ’Show us the Father’?
10 "Do 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 initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.
11 "Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me; otherwise believe on account of the works themselves.
12 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father.
13 "And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.
15 "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
Philip cannot quite get it. How can Jesus words be true? Jesus says plainly, "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.".” Philip is scratching his head and wondering, did I miss something? Show us the Father. That’s what I need! I would love to see God! Jesus will you do that for us? Make the invisible God visible for us! That will do it. That’s all we need. That would be enough! Let us see him.
Have you ever felt like Philip? Lord, are you there? Hello? But we really can know God’s presence without physically seeing.
The story is told that after Helen Keller’s teacher, Anne Sullivan, had given her the names of physical objects in sign language, Miss Sullivan attempted to explain God and shaped for her the symbols for the name "God." Much to Miss Sullivan’s surprise, Helen spelled back, "Thank you for telling me God’s name, Teacher, for he has touched me many times before. I always knew he was there, but I didn’t know what his name was.”