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John 14.7-14 – If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”
9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
10 “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.
12 “Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.
13 “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”
Show us the Father
Once again, the misunderstanding of the disciples provides extremely important information for people like us.
Philip was confused, so he said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied” (Verse 8).
Even though Philip had heard Jesus speak the seven “I AM” statements, where Jesus put himself on the same level as God, he was still wondering who Jesus really was. Jesus responded by saying, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (verse 9).
Jesus’ role is clear to us, because we have the 20/20 vision of hindsight. When we see and hear Jesus, we see and hear the Father. Through Jesus, the Father has been with the disciples as Jesus put it, “all this time.”
Through the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son are with us. Don’t miss this amazing gift from God to us. Everything Jesus was to his disciples, the Holy Spirit is to us today. The refrain of the old hymn describes the reality of a believer, because of the Holy Spirit’s work.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known. (In the Garden)
How do we do the works that Jesus did?
Verse 12 is worthy of serious consideration. Jesus said, “Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father” (verse 12).
People have puzzled over this statement for centuries. Jesus healed the sick, set people free from evil and demons, and brought them into a relationship with the Father. Is he saying that we can do this kind of work, too? And, what about the “greater works” Jesus said we would do? Can anyone do anything greater than what Jesus has done?
How do we do what Jesus did? The answer is: To do what Jesus did, we have to do what Jesus did. This is not so much double-talk, but a profound truth.
What did Jesus do? Jesus said, “The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works” (verse 10). A common refrain in John’s Gospel is that Jesus never did anything separate from the Father’s will and direction. Beginning in the early chapters of John and continuing repeatedly, Jesus declared in one way or another, “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing” (John 5.19).
If we are going to do what Jesus did in his public ministry, we must determine to live our lives in such a close relationship with the Lord that we always look to the Father for direction in every aspect of life.
Jesus lived the greatest life possible. He was without a doubt the wisest person to walk the earth. Besides that, he had the best personality and the most joyful life of anyone. All of this and more was his, because he lived in complete alignment with the Father’s will.
If we live the way Jesus lived his life, we will find that knowing and doing God’s will is not stifling. Rather, it is the key to abundant life.
Praying the Jesus-kind-of-prayer
If we are going to do what Jesus did, then we must also do what Jesus did in prayer. Verses 13 and 14 begin a series of prayer promises from Jesus that continue through the next couple of chapters. Jesus promised us and said, “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it” (verses 13-14).
To pray in “Jesus’ name,” is to pray according to the nature and character of Jesus. The Gospel of John makes it abundantly clear that Jesus always looked to the Father for what he did. If we are to pray “in Jesus’ name,” we will do the same. We will make sure that our prayers are in alignment with the Father’ character and what he has revealed to be his will.
Prayer is one very central way that ordinary people like us can do the works that Jesus has given us to do (verse 12). Praying “in Jesus’ name” looks like this. I will try to make this as clear as possible, because your prayers are needed at this time in history.
(1) We immerse ourselves in the character of Jesus by prayer, worship, fellowship and Bible reading. Living with Jesus is a transformational friendship. In a friendship-relationship Jesus transforms our nature and character to be more like his.
(2) Remember, everything Jesus was to his disciples, the Holy Spirit is to us. We ask the Holy Spirit to direct our Bible reading and to reveal to us what are God’s plans for the times we are living in.
(3) Influenced by the character of Jesus and led by the Spirit, we bring before the Father the requests that we believe are within the will of God. We trust God to answer these prayers, because they are prayed “in Jesus’ name,” that is according to his character and will.
I believe with all of my heart that the two themes of this article are extremely important for the times in which we are living. You have a role to play. God wants you to do Jesus’ works and to make a difference in the world.
The following story captures what I think is possible for us to do, as we surrender to Jesus and join in Holy Spirit led prayer.
During the height of World War II, there was a band of some of the most influential Christian leaders, who committed to be a prayer-force on behalf of God. They set some standards for themselves that they believed to be part of God’s plan.
(1) These “whose-who” of religious leaders agreed to only travel by public transportation and to pay all of their own expenses. At times, these spiritual leaders found themselves sleeping on the floor between the seats on a train.
(2) They traveled a route from North to South, then East to West, making a cross on the map of our country.
(3) They spent five or more days at each prayer station in their journey. For at least four days, they sought to align their hearts and minds with the will of God. They did not release the power of their collective prayer until they were certain that they were in close alignment with God’s character and his purposes.
(4) When they were ready to release their prayer on behalf of the world, they joined together in a Holy Spirit empowered effort.
They were praying on a mountain in Colorado when one of the leaders felt the power of God’s love being poured through him to the world in a way that was more powerful than he had ever felt. This was the climax of their entire week of preparation to meet with God. On this particular night, a crucial battle took place that literally changed the direction of World War II.
I believe ordinary people all around the world can be used like these leaders from the last century. Jesus has told us that we can do the works that he did. He has given us his prayer promises. It is up to us to obey him and see the results he desires.
Dear God, thank you for the truth of the Bible passage that is part of our reading today. Please help us live up to the glorious promises of this passage. May we do the works of Jesus, because we do what Jesus did in his life. Please teach us how to pray. In Jesus’ name. Amen.