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Posted on 05/03/2013 11:48:54 AM PDT by Teˇfilo
Brethren, Peace and Good to all of you.
Today we remember the holy apostles Phillip and Nathaniel. Phillip in particular had a memorable intervention in Johns Gospel which is the one read at Mass today (John 14: 6-14):
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.Gods Eternal Image of Himself
If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him."
Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied."
Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who 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 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 in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father.
Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.
These verses reflect the beauty and the depth so much present throughout the soaring Gospel of John. These from todays Mass in particular caught my special attention:
If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him."
Why is the Father known in Jesus? This is because Jesus reflects the Father perfectly, as mirror image can be said to reflect the original subject. However, as with all analogies when we talk about God, this one breaks down when we consider that God is pure act, eternal, without beginning or end. In Him theres no past or future, but an ever present in which His nature is to be, transcending space and time. Let me expand a bit.
God sees Himself in a supreme pure act of self-consciousness in which He beholds Himself. We can barely approximate this act of self-awareness in ourselves, when we construct an idea of ourselves as bodily, personal beings in our minds and label this image I or me. But in us this image is just that, a kind of projection to which we ascribe certain qualities and attributes that may (or may not) approximate our reality because, due to sin or its effects, we can distort the very image we have of ourselves nor can we contemplate this image at all times without distraction and when we do, we do run the risk of becoming selfish, self-centered.
Yet, Gods image of Himself is Perfect, flawless, and coextensive with His very being. He contemplates Himself for all eternity in one single act which is, again, coextensive with His one Being without risk of degenerating into selfish self-centeredness.
We can see this notion of Christ being an image of God without the further attenuation of likeness in those instances found elsewhere in the Bible describing man as being created in the image and likeness of God in Colossians 1:5. In a language very similar to that of John, the apostle Paul calls Jesus the image of the invisible God.
To put it bluntly, this image that God has of Himself is Himself and that Image became incarnate in Jesus Christ. Thats why in the Man Jesus the firstborn of all creatures, also according to Colossian 1:5 we see God perfectly in human form.
Mans pining for God answered in Jesus Christ
Phillip fails to understand the import of Jesus explicit declaration, since Phillip asks Jesus again:
Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied."What Phillip saw in Jesus humanity did not exhaust the mystery of God in Phillips eyes because, for Phillip, Jesus humanity was ordinary, compact, finite and circumscribed to the carpenters son standing before him. God Phillip thought has to be bigger than this man Jesus who claims to be the very image of God. Was Phillip on to something?
I think that another letter of Paul provides an answer to Phillip and those of us who like him want to see the Father, God in all His glory:
Have among yourselves the same attitude that is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness, and found human in appearance, he humbled himself (Philippians 2: 5-8, NAB)Despite being Gods very image (again, Colossians 1:5) Jesus did not cling to the glory proper to his nature and stature as God, but out of humility, he emptied himself into a human nature such that the first experience that Phillip had of God was Jesus in his human nature.
God had made the impossible: without stopping being God he became man. We can compare this to the emptying of the worlds oceans into a golf-ball hole! God fitted into a finite, circumscribed, compact, small human nature!
In effect, the only way in which we are to experience and encounter the Image of God who is God from the beginning is in the very humanity of Jesus Christ himself, who by virtue of being Gods Image, indwells in the Father and the Father in Him.
In Jesus, then, we find He for whom our heart pines for, the Eternal one from whom love gives Himself inexhaustibly in the Holy Spirit.
That will be the subject of a future post
Good post, thank you.
You are welcome! :-)
John — the other Gospels are more reflective of Jesus’s actual life, words, and ministry — and they’re highly edited.
the other Gospels are more reflective of Jesuss actual life, words, and ministry
Perhaps. Others differ. I take no position, it's immaterial to me.
and theyre highly edited
I don't know what you mean by "highly" - as opposed to "lowly"? - which would imply an extant text for comparison. If you meant "redacted" well, sure, I buy it. So what? What's your point?
Many changes, both inadvertent and deliberate, were made, even from the earliest texts we have - and we don’t have originals.
As for John, a group of Biblical scholars studied the 4 Gospels to determine how much of them was what Jesus actually said and did. They determined that the lowest amount of that was in John. Virtually none of it, in these scholars’ opinions, reflects the actual sayings of Jesus.
Many changes, both inadvertent and deliberate, were made, even from the earliest texts we have - and we dont have originals.
I'm aware of the "inadvertent" but "deliberate", you'll have to elucidate more.
As for John, a group of Biblical scholars studied the 4 Gospels to determine how much of them was what Jesus actually said and did. They determined that the lowest amount of that was in John. Virtually none of it, in these scholars opinions, reflects the actual sayings of Jesus.
You speak of the so-called "Jesus Seminar." I am aware of their findings. They have been debunked; they're also dated. You need to update your knowledge base:
Wouldn’t you say that in Jesus we see the immense Divine Love that empties itself for us? It is the unimaginable sacrifice of God willing to die for us that Jesus reveals, and before the Cross it could not be comprehended by the Apostles.
Jesus' Father was that Spirit:
And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. Luke 1:35, KJV
Christ, therefore, was the one God the Spirit in the flesh. Since God is an invisible Spirit, the only way Phillip could see the Father was to see Him in Christ.
Col. 1:15 agrees, it says Christ "Is the image of the invisible God."
Oneness Pentecostals do not believe the Father is an old grey bearded man. Don't know if you believe Him in that fashion, but I've got an old Baltimore Catachism with pictures of Him as just that. Seeing him that way would account for your explanation.
Thank you for your opinion.
I’ve always known that portraying God as “an Ancient of Days” as He is described in Daniel was an artistic liberty taken in order to faintly display an awesome reality. I have never, nor will you ever find an observant Catholic reducing the Reality to a painted image.
UPC’ers are in grave error regarding the Triune nature of God. They are Sabellians and Patripassians. I don’t consider their views as truthful.
I don’t say it. St. Paul does! ;-)
John writes theology, not a synoptic, like the other Gospels.
They Holy Spirit has inspired all Scripture. Strange that you are saying it is edited.
Could that just be the difference in Bibles as compared with the actual text in the Catholic Bible?
Ok, if you don't believe these "Ancient of Days" pictures in the old Baltimore Catechism are not the reality, what is? If you say the Father is Spirit and invisible, that's the reality, then you and the Oneness Pentecostals are not all that far apart then are you. Hold it...you then said this:
UPCers are in grave error regarding the Triune nature of God. They are Sabellians and Patripassians. I dont consider their views as truthful.
Obviously you must not believe as they about the Father. Please elaborate.
On Sabellius and Praxeus, it would be nice if we actually had their writings to judge exactly what they did believe. All we have are hostile witnesses, Hippolytus writing against Sabellius, and Tertullian writing against Praxaes (Patripassian issue). What ever they wrote it must have been quite damaging to their proto-Trinitarian enemies, their going to great pains making sure none of their writings remain.
I think you are confusing me with someone else. I’m a Catholic Christian who holds to Nicene orthodoxy. Your questions imply that I don’t hold tothe doctrine of the Triune God as normative. I do, every day, UPC late comers notwithstanding.
Debunked? IOW, you disagree with them.
Most of this is like the attempts to “debunk” Professor Ehrman: a lot of noise, a lot of personal criticism, very little evidentiary refutation.
By comparison to the earliest manuscripts we have (and we do not have originals), it is clear that entire sections, as well as key phrases, have been added or deleted, probably in accord with some scribe’s theological agenda, to “harmonize” verses or to make Jesus say what he is “supposed” to say, according to whichever movement that scribe supported.
I do disagree with the “Jesus Seminar” findings, which are dated, incomplete, and also determined by their own theological agenda. In fact, I question almost every activity in which John Dominic Crossan is involved.
Ehrman’s findings are unoriginal, derivative, and also determined by his own “Look at me, I am a former Fundie but I have seen the light” agenda. Therefore, I am skeptical of this skeptic.
As I provided to you before, biblical scholarship has moved along its late 1970’s, early 1980’s “facts”, and things are not as “settled” as you portray them to be.
What “theological agenda” do you think these scholars had? They’re people who study the Bible and know it intimately.
That it’s edited is beyond dispute. Compare the early versions to what we have now. That scribes added and subtracted entire verses and even chapters, as well as making simple transcription errors, is beyond dispute.
You say that “They Holy Spirit has inspired all Scripture.” That’s a theological opinion, nothing more. Even if it’s inspired, however, it’s still written (and edited) by human beings with agendas, some of which conflict.
We are told that we are “the image and likeness of God” and that “You are the light of the world.”