Summary: It's amazing how quickly we settle for less that what is promised and possible. So what do we do with Jesus' outlandish promises about power for living?
“Setting Troubled Hearts at Rest: Power for the Future”
In one of Charles Schultz's ‘Peanuts’ cartoons Snoopy, the hound of heaven, says of Woodstock, that would-be bird of paradise, "Someday Woodstock is going to be a great eagle." Then in the next frame he says, "He's going to soar thousands of feet above the ground." Woodstock takes off into the air and as Snoopy looks on, he sees Woodstock upside-down and whirling around crazily. So he has second thoughts and in the next frame Snoopy says, "Well, maybe hundreds of feet above the ground...." Just then, Woodstock falls to the ground, looking dazed, and Snoopy concludes, "Maybe he'll be one of those eagles who just walk around."
It’s amazing how quickly we settle for less than what is promised and possible. For example, we claim Paul’s assertion that (Eph. 3:20) God is able to “do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…”, yet are hesitant to pray and live boldly. We settle for praying for little things and for living within the limits of what we can do in our own strength. It’s this reality that makes the words of Jesus in today’s text seem almost out of place and surreal. Jesus promises His disciples an immense power for life when He departs from them. He even goes so far as to say that’s why he needs to go away – it’s for their advantage, and for ours. Let’s take a closer look at this dialogue.
In response to Philip Jesus states that POWER BEGINS WITH A CORRECT PERCEPTION. The glasses we wear frame and color what we see. WHAT WE SEE AND EXPERIENCE DEPENDS ON WHAT WE BRING TO THE SCENE. An artist, a minister, and a cowboy were all viewing the landscape of the Grand Canyon. The artist said, “What a beautiful scene to paint!” The minister predictably proclaimed, “What a wonderful example of the handiwork of God!” The cowboy mused, “What a terrible place to lose a cow!” What we see and experience depends on what we bring to the scene.
WHEN WE’RE SO BUSY LOOKING FOR WHAT WE WANT TO SEE WE OFTEN MISS THE OBVIOUS. I read a story of an elderly bachelor and an old maid who each had lived alone for many years. They started ‘going together.’ Gradually the old gentleman recognized a real attachment to her but was shy and afraid to tell her his feelings. But finally he mustered up the courage to say, "Let's get married!" Surprised, she threw up her hands and shouted, "It's wonderful to think about, but who in the world would have us?" She was so busy looking at her age and condition that she failed to see the love of the man in her sight.
So when Philip asked to see the Father Jesus told him to change his perspective, because BEYOND PHYSICAL SEEING THERE IS A MUCH NEEDED SPIRITUAL SEEING. (9) “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father …” “Philip, you’re so busy looking for your image of the Father, you’re missing me and therefore the Father. If you have been with me for three years and yet do not know me, why do you think seeing the Father would help you know Him?” Philip was missing God’s words in Jesus’ words; he was missing God’s power in Jesus’ power. The word Jesus used for “see” means ‘to see with understanding.’ In other words, the one who perceives Jesus as the Son of God is the one who sees the Father.
So Jesus tells Philip to BELIEVE AND SEE. (10) “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?” Notice how Jesus compassionately pleads with him. (11) “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.” “If you believe my words you will find the Father. But if you have trouble seeing the Father through what I say put my words alongside my miracles. Then you will see.” Jesus understands that in the midst of our troubles, trials, doubts, and fears we need, more than anything, to believe what Jesus says is true and that He is the Son of God, that He and the Father are one. As D. A. Carson wrote, “There is no belief more basic to spiritual triumph that that.” If we set this truth in our hearts, our hearts will be at rest because then we will see the Fathers’ loving heart and merciful hands in all the events and circumstances of our lives.
It is this firm belief that enables us to see this POWER PICTURED IN A STAGGERING PROMISE. (12) “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” Two questions immediately arise.