What I’m Thinking: Show Us

Philip wanted to see God – don’t we all? – but he hadn’t been looking in the right places.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about the fourteenth chapter in John’s Gospel (John 14:1-14), a portion of Jesus’ Farewell Address to his disciples.

The supper was over and Jesus had some more things to say to his friends. We call it “The Farewell Address” — the disciples didn’t know that. In light of the resurrection, it wasn’t all that long a farewell, either. Towards the beginning of it, Philip wanted to know something. “Lord, show us the father and we will be satisfied.”

Well, he was in good company. Moses had asked to see God some centuries before. Jesus’ response is important. He said to Philip, look, you have known me, you have seen the things that I do. You know that these are the things that God does. How can you look at me and still want to see God?

But I don’t want to leave Philip’s question quite so quickly. I think there is a very common human desire to see beyond what is hidden, to pull away the curtain, to find out what makes things tick. Philip’s question is part of that grand tradition of human curiosity from which we have learned so much.

Yet the asking of the question, as Jesus’ response shows, shows it was not the question that was the problem, it was Philip’s ability to look in the right places, that his question came as much out of his expectations, out of his assumptions of what God would look like, as it did out of his curiosity. Be curious, said Jesus, about the things that you are seeing. Be curious about the ways in which they reveal God. Be curious about what is right in front of you.

It’s not a matter of pulling away the curtain. It is not a matter of pulling away what conceals, because in the case of the works of God we will see it in the very things that we believe are hiding it. “Show us God and we will be satisfied.” Look and see. Look and see those who comfort and guide and help and love.

Look and see and you will see God.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: | Posted on May 1, 2023

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