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THE TRUE TEST
"Philip said, 'Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.' Jesus answered: 'Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father?' Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words that I say to you, I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing His work.
"Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.'" John 14:8-11 NIV.
More of Jesus' unforgettable words uttered in response to a question!
Would the disciples ever forget these last hours with Jesus in the Upper Room? The Passover meal had been eaten, the ceremonies observed that had reminded them of the first Passover meal their forefathers had eaten in Egypt. It was eaten in haste while they were poised for flight from the wrath of Pharaoh when his own firstborn son lay dead at the hands of the angel of death.
Egypt lay in ruins, systematically destroyed as God hit the land and its people with plague after destructive plague. Pharaoh had stubbornly resisted God's command until this! It was the last straw and he ordered the Israelites out of the land before their God did anything worse to them.
Now Jesus had introduced a new ceremony infused with a new meaning for His followers to observe from then on - a ceremony deeply rooted in the events of the Passover but symbolizing a deliverance far greater than the deliverance from slavery in Egypt. In the simple symbols of bread and wine they would never forget the death of God's Passover Lamb who would lay down His life to set His people free from slavery to sin.
In the Passover lambs killed and eaten by each family, they were to recognize that they were protected from death by faith in the blood of a lamb. No animal blood could protect them, but there was a lamb, God's Lamb who would be put to death in a few hours, the efficacy of whose shed blood would atone for the sins of all people for all time.
Jesus savoured the precious moments with His disciples before it was time to hand Himself over for the sacrifice. What would be the subject of His final words to them? There was nothing more meaningful for Him to talk about than the Father, and to prepare them for the greatest of all gifts they were to receive -- the gift of the Holy Spirit who would come in His place as His representative to live within them.
First of all, though, He had to make sure that they knew that there was unity between Father, Son and Holy Spirit so intimate that the Holy Spirit who would come to indwell them would be to them exactly as He had been, and would say and do in them exactly the same as He had said and done. Just as Jesus had perfectly represented the Father, so the Holy Spirit would perfectly represent Him.
In response to Thomas and Philip's questions, Jesus assured them that it was His intention to show them the way and to take them to the Father. They would easily recognize the Father because Jesus was an exact replica of the Father. In every way He perfectly resembled the Father; all they had to do was to listen to His words and look at His works and they would know the Father just as they had known Him.
Jesus could not have explained it more clearly. In future days, when He was no longer with them in person, they had a standard by which to measure the words and works of those who were claiming to be representatives of God and, of course, of their own activities in His name. True sons resemble their fathers. One only has to watch and listen to the son to know what his father is like.
Not the claims but the works are the true test.
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