John 14:8-12. Philip makes a request.
Philip expressed the feeling of a pious heart when he said, "Lord, show us the Father, and it suffices us." There was something in this request that must have pleased the Son of God. Love to his Father always pleased him. It grieved him to see the creatures of his Father's hand so indifferent to his name. He had beheld another scene in heaven, where every angel and every saint glows with love to his glorious Creator. But worldly men do not care for the Being who made them. Far from wishing to see Him, as Philip did, they wish to hide themselves from him. Instead of saying, "Show us the Father," they say in their hearts, "Give us corn and wine; give us favor with men; give us success in our schemes, and prosperity in our families, and—it suffices us."
But the children of God desire to see their Father's face. Philip was a child of God, and he desired to see his glorious countenance; therefore he said, "Show us the Father." Yet he ought not to have made this request. He ought to have known that Jesus was the brightness of his Father's glory. How gently the Lord reproached him for his unbelief when he said, "Have I been so long time with you, Philip, and yet have you not known me?" Three years was a long time to have familiar communion with the Son of God. Patriarchs and prophets thought themselves highly favored, when they enjoyed short and occasional interviews with their glorious Redeemer. They were more ready to acknowledge him as God than Philip was. When Jacob had wrestled with the angel, he said, "I have seen the face of God, and my life is preserved." But the apostles found it hard to believe how great their Master was! They had seen him hungry and thirsty, weary and weeping. They had even heard him talk of dying. Was it not hard to believe, that the face so marred with sorrow was the express image of the Father's? Yet they ought to have believed this, because of his words and his works.
He spoke as never man spoke; he did works that man never performed. His divine glory shone through the veil of mortal flesh. No light around his person distinguished him from other men; but the apostle John declares, "We beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father." (John 1:14.) Once, indeed, his face did shine as the sun, and his clothing was white as the light; but only once; and then only three of the apostles beheld that glorious sight. But his countenance always shone with the light ofholiness, and his garments were always white with spotless purity.
When did Jesus fulfill this wonderful promise, "He who believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do?" At the day of Pentecost, when the apostles, by the power of the Spirit, turned three thousand souls to God. When Jesus preached, only a few repented. Chorazin and Bethsaida, Capernaum and Jerusalem, repented not; but when the apostles preached, three thousand, by one sermon, were pierced in their hearts. (Acts 2:37-41.) What was the reason for this difference? Jesus explained the reason in these few words, "Because I go unto the Father." Since he has gone unto the Father, to sit at his right hand, multitudes have received the gifts of repentance, and of the forgiveness of sins, because he has gone there for that very purpose; as it is written, "Him has God exalted with his right hand, to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins." (Acts 5:31.) Have we received these precious gifts? Has the great work been done in our souls—the work of conversion? If it has, then we shall be anxious to do great works ourselves, by saving the souls of our fellow-sinners, and snatching them as brands from the burning. ~ Favell Lee Mortimer (1802—1878)