It is Jesus’ final evening with His Disciples before His death; it is His last supper with them…the last Passover meal. He will preach His last sermons and pray His final prayers on earth. And the Disciples still do not understand this. Jesus’ last night on earth is so full of activity, revelation, and theology that I’ve decided to take a closer look at it all next week. But if I had to pick one event, one conversation, I would pick Jesus’ short conversation with Philip in the Upper Room.
“‘If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.’ Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, “Show us the Father”? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.’” (John 14:7-11)
Those of you who know me well may have been expecting me to comment on John 14:6; we’ll look at that next week.
I have a confession to make; it has taken me a long time to grasp the truth that Jesus is my friend. I have many friends, but very few close, intimate friends. Friends of the sort that I can share anything and know my thoughts are confidential and will not be repeated anywhere else nor will they be thought of as silly by my friends. That sort of intimacy does not come easy for me.
And because of this hesitancy of mine, I’ve struggled with the thought of friendship with Jesus. The Phillips, Craig & Dean song “I Am A Friend of God” used to greatly disturb me because I did not feel comfortable singing that song. Part of it is because I know so many who do sing that are clueless on the depth of what they are singing. It at times seems so irreverent to sing in such a manner.
Part of this is true, but part of the issue is my relationship with Jesus is not what He seeks. What Jesus said to Philip was not meant as a rebuke nor do I believe He is doing so with me right now. Jesus is not concentrating so much on who I am but whom He wants me to be. Yesterday we looked at men who loved religion when it is in fashion, but Jesus told them something quite startling in when He cried out to them:
“He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me.” (John 12:44b-45)
Up until that very moment, some four thousand years, and from then on over two thousand years, man has been searching for God. And now, at that moment Jesus not only announces Himself as the Light coming into the world, but also as God. People should have either immediately stoned Him to death or fallen on their faces and worshipped Him.
Now Philip tells Jesus all we need is to see God the Father and Jesus says, “I Am.” And yet those eleven still do not understand. At times I do not understand this. Why? Because I am unfaithful to pursue Him through reading my Bible and spending time with Him in prayer to grow this relationship into the most intimate friendship available to man. Oswald Chambers puts it this way:
“Friendship is rare on earth. It means identity in thought and heart and spirit. The whole discipline of life is to enable us to enter into this closest relationship with Jesus Christ. We receive His blessings and know His word, but do we know Him?”
Oh my beloved it is my heart’s cry that you would know Him…that I would know Him. But that does not come from a mere introduction or a study of His life. It is hard work; work grown out of an undying love and burning desire for more of Him.
God forbid it that I come to the point that I’ve had enough of Him…
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Copyright © 2012 David Jeffers