“Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 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 authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.’” John 14:8-11
Philip’s request represents the desire of every true believer in God. “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Yet, at the same time, when this request is addressed to God incarnate, it is a case in missing the point. Jesus responds, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” Philip should have known that the fullness of deity dwells in Christ bodily (Colossians 2:9) and that although no one has ever seen God, he is the only God, who is at the Father’s side, who has made him known (John 1:18). Jesus continues: “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and that the Father is in me?” Theologians call this reality the mutual indwelling of the Father and the Son. The oneness of the Father and Son does not obscure the distinction of their persons but highlights the union of their essence. The Father and Son are one God; so they mutually indwell one another with regard to the union of nature between them. To see the Son is to see the Father in the sense that they share the same divine essence. Jesus is the invisible God made visible. He is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15), the Word made flesh (John 1:14).
Jesus teaches his disciples that both his words and his works testify to his oneness with God the Father. Verse 10b is key: “The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.” God the Father speaks through God the Son and confirms his own words with his supernatural works. His miraculous works authenticated the divine origin of his message. Although it is best to take the words of Jesus at face value, Jesus says, “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves” (v. 11). The works should strengthen our faith that the words of Jesus are the words of God. This is why the miracles of Jesus are called “signs” in the Gospel of John. They signify that Jesus is God’s Son and the source of eternal life. John 20:30-31 says, “Now Jesus did many signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Jesus shows us the Father. If we want to know God the Father, then we must only look at Jesus Christ who makes him known to us. “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, who he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world” (Hebrews 1:1-2). This message of salvation “was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will” (Hebrews 2:3-4).
The only way to a deeper knowledge and communion with God the Father is through God the Son. We sing, “O come to the Father through Jesus the Son!” If our hearts say, “Show us the Father,” let us look to Jesus who is revealed to us in the Scriptures. We have sure and certain knowledge of God the Father in him for the Father is in him and he is in the Father. To see him is to see the Father. There is no more of the Father to be found outside of the Lord Jesus. May God open the eyes of our hearts to see the true revelation of God the Father in the Lord Jesus who remains a distinct person from the Father yet shares in his same single and undivided divine essence!