“Philip” By: Andrew Scala, Fiat Ventures

“Philip” By: Andrew Scala, Fiat Ventures

5th Sunday of Easter

Philip asked Jesus, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”  Gospel of John, 14, 8

Philip, how could you, a disciple of Jesus and a man of great faith, a man who gave up everything to follow our Savior be so confused?

I’m sure that, Philip had a thirst for knowledge. He wanted to know everything that Jesus knew and to understand Jesus’ plan. I suppose wanting to see the Father, and asking for such an event, shows courage on his part, the type of courage that made him an Apostle in the first place. Reading his statement with the benefit of 2,000 years of clarity, however, at first seems to change its meaning. Philip comes off as audacious, faithless, and quite frankly, completely out of touch. Even the least-seasoned of Jesus’ followers today grasp the concept of God sending his only Son to Earth for our salvation. We almost want to scream at the page! Philip, He’s already been shown to you time and time again! Oh, how much we of 2,000 years later would love to be able to ask questions to Jesus himself over coffee!

Perhaps, this week’s Gospel from John can give us some insight. It starts with Jesus reassuring his closest friends at the Last Supper of their place with him in his “Father’s house”, no doubt trying to prepare them for their greatest test. Thomas, the famous doubter, asks Jesus “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus responds with grace, and one of his more famous quotes: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This sets up Philip’s line that we started with.

“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”  

Let’s pause the story here and ask a couple of questions…

How will Jesus respond?  (He’s spent the better part of 3 years preaching to the masses, and specifically these 12 inheritors of the church.)

How frustrated would he appear? (As a teacher, I work with children that often ask all sorts of questions, and in this text, Jesus is extending to me a small thread of connection.  What I love so much about this Gospel is that His answer is very “teacher-esque”.)

After showing Philip how his question lacked grasping the bigger picture, and literally asking him, “How can you say that?” he then delivers a message that should echo in the heads of all doubters: “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.”

Ever have someone ask a question in class, and think to yourself, “Wow, I had the exact same question, I’m glad they asked that.”  We needed someone like Philip, back then so that 2,000 years later, we can say again, “I’m glad he asked that.”

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