Summary: We all ought to develope the attitude that seeks to know God more. But Jesus also wants us to go and show others.
Easter 5 A
I’ll never forget the first day of drivers training. The process in Illinois wasn’t at all like it is here in Iowa. First we had to wait till we were 16 – Juniors in high school, not in Jr. High. Imagine, two years of high school where we could only hear about driving from older brothers and sisters and their friends. Then, before we even got behind the wheel of a car we had to endure a number of weeks of intense book work. 9 weeks of that made an hour of chauffeuring Mr. Conrady to his daily errands like the greatest thing going. We were eager to know more. We had all the skills and rules of the road engrained up here. But it wasn’t enough. We want more. Don’t just tell us. Show us. Show us some more.
It bespeaks an attitude that humbly admits, “There’s so much more for us to learn,” and that eagerly awaits every opportunity to grow. That’s why I so much love the request of the Philip this morning. “Show us! Show us the Father.” This is the request of one of Jesus’ disciples. These men were able to learn of God like none other. They sat at the feet of the Son of God for nearly three years. They heard instruction. They walked in the shadow of Christ’s example. They witnessed miraculous powers mercifully dispensed. They saw him deal in grace with outcasts and sinners. In numerous ways they had seen God at work through His Son. But Philip still wants more.
He’s like us. When were troubled in spirit, when life confronts us with changes, when it becoming more and more clear that we’ll soon have to take charge of a situation or assume a position of leadership; it’s a gut check moment and we begin to wonder whether we’ve got what it takes to carry on.
The disciples were in the same boat. Jesus had just told them that he would be betrayed. Now He was also talking as if it would mean he demise. They would be without him for good. They would be left to themselves on this journey of faith and the thought of that scared them. Are we really prepared? Can we really carry on? There’s so much more we should know. After all, look at us.
And we might say the same. Our conduct betrays us. Our worry and fears would say that our view of God is rather insubstantial. Our actions, measured by the Law of God, would convey the message that we have little or no knowledge of His will. And measured by God’s grace, our bargaining and our thinking that we can somehow buy our way into God’s favor with a set of prescribed acts would convey the thought that we have no knowledge of His mercy either.
In so many ways we do not know him. At least we don’t know Him like we should. We forget, just like Philip forgot or at least needed to be recalled to what He had learned. We need to hear the Word daily to remind us again. (You may be confirmed today. You might have even been able to answer most or all of pastor’s questions, but there’s so much more, so far we yet can go.)
And yet Jesus is right too in how he responds. He sounds incredulous. And maybe he should be. “You do know Him, Philip. You know Him in me… Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father… The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the father, living in me, who is doing his work. To know Jesus is to know the mind of God; His work; His gracious will; His sacrificial, loving care. You do know him and having faith in me you will do what I have been doing and even more.” It’s as if he were saying. I have shown you. Now you can show others.
One of our speakers at last Sunday’s Mission Fest said something to that effect last week. If you were here for his presentation last Sunday afternoon you probably heard him ask why people are reluctant to tell others about their faith. Those in our group hit it right on the nose. We’ll say something like, “Well, we don’t know enough. We don’t know what to say.” But then he followed up and asked, “How is it that you are saved?” to which someone responded, “Though faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord.” What was his response? “You know enough!”
You may not know it all. As your pastor, let me tell you today, that I don’t either. There’s much to learn. Our professors at the Sem were often known to say that in these 8 years of study we’re giving you enough to get through the first 6 months and the knowledge of where and how you can look for the rest. We don’t know it all either. But we know enough.