If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
There are seven things that this portion suggests, and the first is this: the Father is only known through the Son. Notice verse 7: “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.” Now it is perfectly true that God may be known through creation. We are told that in the first chapter of the epistle to the Romans. There we read that “the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (v. 20). So men who deny God, who refuse to believe in a God, who live as if there were no God are without excuse.
We are often asked, “Will God condemn the poor heathen because they have not had the gospel?” No, but He will condemn us because they have not heard the gospel. We are responsible to get it to them. We have been so selfish and content to enjoy our morsel alone. We have paid so little attention to the Lord’s command, “Go ye into all the world” (Mark 16:15). We have quibbled so much about whether the command belongs to our dispensation or to another, and have professed to have so much light and knowledge, so we have sat at home and let the heathen die in their sins. We shall have to answer to God for it some day. The heathen are lost, that is why they need a Savior. That is why you and I needed a Savior. “The Son of Man [came] to seek and to save that which was lost” (Matt. 18:11; Luke 19:10). If the heathen were not lost they would not need a Savior, but they are lost because they did not want to keep God in their knowledge. They are condemned by their own consciences because of the sins of which they are guilty.
They will not be charged for the sin of rejecting Christ of whom they never heard but for the sins that they have actually committed. As they look into the heavens they must know there is a God. As they see the wonderful things He has prepared for man, as they consider their own bodies and all their marvelous functions they cannot help but realize that back of all this there must be a Creator to whom men are responsible. So His eternal power and Godhead are known through creation. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge” (Ps. 19:1-2). But the Fatherhood of God could only be revealed through the Lord Jesus Christ. Nature tells me there is a God, that He must be infinite in wisdom and power, but it does not tell me He has a Father’s heart. I would not know that except from the revelation He has given in His blessed Son. How thoughtless we are about that revelation sometimes.
I remember a lady with whom I was speaking at one time. If there is any one on earth who ought to thank God for the Christian revelation, it is the women of the world, for how marvelously their status has been changed in all lands where the gospel is known. But this lady said to me, with a toss of her pretty head, “I am not interested in the gospel. I never read the Bible. It is enough for me to know that God is love.” I said, “Do you know that?” “Why, certainly,” she said. “You really know that God is love?” “Why, of course I do.” “Well,” I inquired, “pardon me, madam, but how did you find that out?” “Why, everybody knows that God is love.”
Oh, no, everybody does not know it. They do not know it in India, in Africa, in lands where the gospel has not yet gone. They did not know it in the Islands of the Sea in the old cannibal days. No one knew that until Jesus came to declare the heart of God to needy men. And it is the Holy Spirit who told us God is love, and the evidence He gave of it was this, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Oh, we could have known that God was great, that God was powerful, that God was wise. We might even have known or gathered from the abundant provision He has made for His creatures that He is good, but we would never have known that He is love if Jesus had not come to reveal the Father. “The Word [became] flesh, and [tabernacled] among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). And so I repeat, we would never have known the Fatherhood of God apart from the revelation given us in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Then in the second place I would like to remind you of this, Christ is the exact expression of the Father. Do you say to yourself sometimes, “Oh, I wish I understood God better. I wish I could know just how God the Father looks at things, and how He feels about things, and what His attitude is toward men in general, and His people in particular.” Well, all you need to do is read the four Gospels and get better acquainted with the Lord Jesus Christ, for He has made the Father known in all His fullness.
I love those verses with which the epistle to the Hebrews opens: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds [or ages]; 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 on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (1:1-3). Those words, “the express image of his person” might well be rendered the “exact expression of his character.”
He is speaking about Jesus who is the exact expression of the Fathers character. So if you want to know what God, the Father, is like, just get better acquainted with the Lord Jesus Christ. The better you know Him, the better you know the Father. Everything in the character of Christ tells out that which is in the heart of God: His love for holiness, His delight in righteousness, His interest in men—even unconverted men. His deep tender affection for His own as evidenced by His love for that little company of disciples who walked with Him three-and-a-half years, of whom we read, “Having loved His own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end” (John 13:1). His sweet gracious interest in the little children, His love for the girls and boys, so that they delighted to come to Him and sit upon His knee. He took them in His arms and put His hands on them in blessing. All this tells us of God the Father’s love for the children.
Then on the other hand, the scorn of Jesus for sins such as hypocrisy, deceit, disobedience, and so forth, expresses the scorn of the Father Himself for everything unreal and consequently unholy. And then the glorious anger of Jesus! “Oh,” you say, “I don’t like to think that Jesus ever became angry.” There are some people who insist that we should not get angry about anything. But Scripture says, “Be ye angry, and sin not” (Eph. 4:26). Think of the anger of Jesus as He stood in the temple with flashing eyes and said, “It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Luke 19:46).
And remember that day in the synagogue in Capernaum when that poor woman, nearly bent double with her misery, came. The Scribes and the Pharisees were watching. They were saying, “Will He dare to heal her on the sabbath day?” Jesus said, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill?” (Mark 3:4; Luke 14:3). He looked round about upon them with anger, as He asked, “Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?” (Luke 14:5). And He said, “Ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?” (Luke 13:16).
Glorious indignation! Glorious anger! And the anger of Jesus is the anger of God. How is it that we are afraid of the wrath of God and yet we don’t like to think of our Lord Jesus ever being angry? There is a time coming when men shall flee to the rocks and the mountains and shall cry to the rocks and the hills, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb” (Rev. 6:16)—the wrath of the Lord Jesus Christ! Yes, the Lamb’s indignation with men who have spurned His grace, refused His mercy, turned down every opportunity of salvation. I repeat, the anger of Jesus is the anger of God. If you want to know God just get better acquainted with Jesus.
Philip came to Him and said, “Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us” (John 14:8). You see, it was a new thing to Philip. Jesus talked so quietly and with such full knowledge of the Father. Philip says, “Well, what do You mean, Lord? Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” And Jesus said, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (v. 9). That is, you see, the Father’s character was fully told out in Jesus.
But now this involves the third thing I want to emphasize, and that is the unity of the Father and the Son. The unity of the Father and the Son does not involve the thought that Father and Son were exactly the same person. They were two persons, and yet one in the unity of Deity with the Holy Spirit—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Joseph Cook used to say, “The Father without the Son and the Holy Spirit would not be God in His fullness. The Son without the Father and the Holy Spirit would not be God. The Spirit without the Father and the Son would not be God. But the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit together are one God in three blessed, adorable persons.” So Jesus was here on earth, the Man, Christ Jesus, and yet He was the Son of the Father. The Father was in the heavens and, of course, omnipresent in the whole universe. Jesus said, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father… Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?” (vv. 9-10a). The union is an indissoluble one. “I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works” (v. 10b). Everything that Jesus did as Man here in this world He did in fellowship with the Father. That is why He could say that the Son could do nothing of Himself but whatsoever He seeth the Father do. It was not possible that He, as the Son of the Father, should do anything that was not in harmony with the will of the Father: two persons and yet one in Deity.
Then notice in the fourth place that the works that He did were a testimony to this truth. Verse 11 reads, “Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.” It is as though He challenged them, saying, “If you are not prepared to take My declaration of My oneness with the Father, if there is still a question in your mind, see what I have done. Did any man ever do the works that I have done? Has any man ever been able to accomplish what I have accomplished? Be convinced by these works that God the Father is working through Me.” If any other man had touched the leper he would have been defiled, but when Jesus touched him, He said, “Be thou clean” (Matt. 8:3; Mark 1:41; Luke 5:13). His hands were not defiled. His hands healed the leprosy instead of the defilement of leprosy cleaving to Him. No mere man ever had power over the tempest, but Jesus could turn to the wind and the waves and say, “Peace, be still” (Mark 4:39). Man sows the seed and cultivates the ground, and eventually through the mercy of God, whose sunshine and rain falls on it and whose chemical action takes place beneath the sod, the earth brings forth the grain from which he can make his bread. But Jesus took five loaves and a few fish, and after giving thanks, produced food for over five thousand people. Why did He do these things? Not that people might look on with amazement or to attract attention to Himself, but in order that He might manifest the heart of God.
So the miracles of Jesus are a challenge to us. We see in them the evidence that He is the Eternal Son of the Father.
But now He was going away, and in the fifth place we notice a wonderful promise He makes to us which He would fulfill in His absence. Verse 12 reads, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” Now there are some people who say that He makes a promise here that He never fulfilled. They declare that no man has ever done greater works than these miracles. But He was not speaking of miracles. His chief work was not performing miracles but revealing the Father, bringing knowledge of the Father. It is that of which He was speaking.
As a result of His three-and-a-half years of ministry, when He left this scene He said good-bye to a group of about five hundred disciples. There were, doubtless, a few more scattered about but not very many. Very few saw in Him the revelation of the Father. But go on a few days—fifty days later. Ah, then Peter and the rest of the Eleven stand up on the day of Pentecost and the third person of the Trinity comes upon them in power, and they are prepared to witness for Him. They preached a crucified and risen Christ, and what happened? Three thousand believed! Probably more in that one day than in all the three-and-a-half years of our Lord’s ministry. Oh, it is not miracles of which He is speaking. If it were miracles, what was the greatest? Of the miracles concerning the body, was it not when He went to that tomb at Bethany and stood and cried, “Lazarus, come forth” (11:43), and he that was dead came forth—the man of whom his sister said, “Lord,… he hath been dead four days” (v. 39). That was Jesus’ greatest work in regard to the body. Has anyone excelled that?
What was greatest in regard to the powers of nature? Was it turning the water into wine or multiplying the loaves and fishes? Or was it not perhaps in controlling the wind and the waves? No one else has been able to do that.
But His greatest work of all was to reveal the Father. When you realize that when Jesus left this scene, committing His gospel to a little group of eleven men in order that they might carry it to the ends of the earth, at that time the whole world with the exception of a few in Israel, was lost in the darkness of heathenism. But in three hundred years Christianity closed nearly all the temples of the heathen Roman Empire, and numbered its converts by millions. These were the greater works, and down through the centuries He still carries on this ministry.
In the sixth place, notice His promise to hear the prayers of His servants. “Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do” (John 14:13). “[If] ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” Now somebody speaks up and says, “Well, I asked God for something in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and He did not do it.” Oh, but that was not necessarily asking in His name. To ask in His name is to ask by His authority, that is, to pray in accordance with His revealed will. It is as though He said to us, “Whatever you ask by My authority, I will do.” And so what you and I need is to be sure that we understand His will and that we have His authority for the requests that we make.
The seventh thing is this: our Lord’s one purpose. The last part of verse 13 reads, “That the Father may be glorified in the Son.” It was the delight of the Lord Jesus, while here on earth, to glorify the Father, and now it is the joy of His heart to see His people carry on the mission He has given. Every time a soul is saved, it is to the glory of the Father and this is the joy of the Son. Every thing we do in loving obedience to His Word is that the Father may be glorified.