Sermon for Pentecost 2022
John 14:8 “Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father; that will be enough for us.”
9 Jesus replied, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been with you all this time? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I have spoken to you I don’t speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Trust me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or at least believe on account of the works themselves. 12 I assure you that whoever believes in me will do the works that I do. They will do even greater works than these because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask for in my name, so that the Father can be glorified in the Son. 14 When you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it.”
Let me provide a bit of context to this passage in John 14. It seems to be a continuation of narrative that began in chapter 13 so let me summarize:
Jesus and the 12 are preparing for the Passover meal and Jesus decides to wash the disciples feet as an example to follow after his death, that they are to love and serve one another. Jesus then predicts that Judas will betray him and Judas leaves to do the deed. Next Jesus gives them a new commandment that they should love each other just as he has loved them, and by doing this they would prove to be his disciples. Jesus then predicts that Peter would deny him 3 times before the rooster crows the next morning. Chapter 14 begins with Jesus encouraging them not to let their hearts be troubled but to trust him; that he is the way, the truth, and the life and through him they now know and have seen the Father, God of Israel.
At This point in the Story, Phillip makes his request; “Lord show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”
Eight years ago I preached a sermon on Pentecost. I mentioned 3 “P” words that the gift of the Holy Spirit, poured out on Pentecost offers the church. I talked about the:
Presence of Christ
Power of Christ
Peace of Christ
Today I want to add the word Promise. In the beginning of 14 He says: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.”
From there to the end of chapter 17, Jesus lays out a litany of promises before he is betrayed and arrested on the Mount of Olives.
The gospel writer seems to point out in Phillip what plagues most if not all of us when we look at life from a purely human perspective. It’s the inability to see the forest through the trees. It’s an unproductive and usually unhealthy desire for certainty in matters that require faith.
We are entering some uncharted waters, looking for signposts in the fog as theologian NT Wright might say. Things look pretty bleak at the moment and when you consider our current circumstances it’s hard to say we are experiencing the Presence, Power and Peace of Christ but these words of Promise can give us hope.
John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 I will ask the Father, and he will send another Companion,[advocate (think lawyer)]who will be with you forever. 17 This Companion is the Spirit of Truth, whom the world can’t receive because it neither sees him nor recognizes him. You know him, because he lives with you and will be with you.
(18 “I won’t leave you as orphans. I will come to you.)
Notice that verse 17 looks like a callback to the beginning of our text. Maybe the worldly perspective of Phillip is a desire for absolute certainty that blinded him from seeing the truth that God is in Christ bringing all things under his control and establishing the redemption of all things by his Presence, Power and Peace and the Gift of the Holy Spirit is the guarantee that he will fulfill his Promises in and through the church.
Let me close by reading from the letter to the Ephesians:
Bless the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! He has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing that comes from heaven. God chose us in Christ to be holy and blameless in God’s presence before the creation of the world. God destined us to be his adopted children through Jesus Christ because of his love. This was according to his goodwill and plan and to honor his glorious grace that he has given to us freely through the Son whom he loves. We have been ransomed through his Son’s blood, and we have forgiveness for our failures based on his overflowing grace, which he poured over us with wisdom and understanding. God revealed his hidden design to us, which is according to his goodwill and the plan that he intended to accomplish through his Son. This is what God planned for the climax of all times: to bring all things together in Christ, the things in heaven along with the things on earth. We have also received an inheritance in Christ. We were destined by the plan of God, who accomplishes everything according to his design. We are called to be an honor to God’s glory because we were the first to hope in Christ. You too heard the word of truth in Christ, which is the good news of your salvation. You were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit because you believed in Christ. The Holy Spirit is the down payment on our inheritance, which is applied toward our redemption as God’s own people, resulting in the honor of God’s glory.
So I want to encourage us to open our hearts, open our minds and open our eyes to see that which Phillip, that which the world cannot see. Let’s continue to trust in the promises of God. Let’s continue in the power of the Spirit to follow the example of love that Jesus gave his disciples when the situation seemed bleak and desperate and hopeless. I can’t give you any certainty, only my belief that in the end, three things remain; Faith, Hope and Love. And the greatest of these is Love. Amen!-Pastor Mark