How many times have you thought that faith would be easier if you had been alive in the first century and seen Jesus with your own eyes? How many times have you thought that if you could simply see the miracles or hear the teachings of Jesus that it would be enough to solidify your faith? I know I have always thought that it would make a difference in my life if I had been alive and had seen and heard him. You may have felt the same way. Perhaps you believe that if you had been alive in the first century you would be able to believe. But we learn from the life of the apostle Philip that even seeing Jesus in person would not be enough to fill our constant appetite to live by sight.
Jesus is giving his final discourse to his apostles in the upper room. It would be this very evening that Judas would betray Jesus and Jesus would be arrested. Jesus is teaching the apostles about the coming of the Holy Spirit who will guide them after he was gone. As Jesus is explaining that he is leaving, Philip says, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us” (John 14:8).
We think our faith would be stronger and easier to build if we have more proof or actually saw the Lord for ourselves. But we are fooling ourselves. It would not have made any difference. Do you understand Philips words? “Show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
We are a people who always want more. We are so dependent upon the things we can see and base our whole lives on this physical realm. This is the problem that Philip has within himself. He asks Jesus to show the Father to them. Perhaps Philip is thinking of the time God showed his backside to Moses. Perhaps Philip is looking for a greater measure of Gods glory to be revealed before their eyes so they can know.
“Jesus answered: “Dont 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? Dont you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. 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 miracles themselves” (John 14:9-11).
The problem is that we never have enough proof. We think if we had another piece of evidence that we would be satisfied, but we are fooling ourselves. We are never satisfied. Gideon is an excellent example of this very problem. Gideon wanted to know that the Lord was with him before he went into battle. Therefore, he asked God to perform a sign so he could be assured. Gideon first wanted dew to be on the fleece he laid on the ground at night, but the ground all around to be dry. The next morning, there was dew on the fleece but not on the ground. But this was not enough. He then asked God to put dew on the ground and not on the fleece.
The problem is that we cannot have enough proof. We do not want to have any faith at all in this life. We want to walk completely by sight. We think this is a reasonable request, but it really is not. If we need to see everything with our own eyes before we will believe it, then we honestly cannot know or trust in anything unless in happens within our own sphere of life. We cannot trust the news on the radio. We cannot trust the news on television (some people still claim we did not land on the moon in 1969 believing it was all a Hollywood stunt). We cannot trust American history. We cannot trust world history. We must realize that we cannot see with our own eyes.
This is what Jesus is trying to get Philip to understand. We have enough evidence to see God, though He cannot be seen. If there is Jesus then there is a God. Many have called this the gospel argument for God. If Jesus lived, then we know there is a God. No one has ever denied the existence of Jesus. Historical records outside of the scriptures attest to his life and to his claims. The universe testifies that there is a God. Logic and reason testify that there is a God. The evidence is overwhelming yet we think we do not have enough proof. God is not asking for blind faith or irrational faith. God wants to us to have a logical and rational faith. We must simply recognize that there things we simply cannot see.
Philip also shows us that we always want to see more and visible proof is never enough for us. People in the first century witnessed the miracles of Jesus with their own eyes and still rejected God and rejected Jesus. They saw Lazarus raised from the dead, but rather than believe, they simply wanted to kill him. We are no different. If we do not want to believe, that is our choice. But our decision to not believe is not because there is no evidence. If God reappeared right now, many would not believe and certainly future generations would not believe, though we wrote it down. God showed himself and proved himself for years. We are only faith challenged because we want to be.