Photo. Main street KC, Blick, 2011
IX. The Sermon: A Stunning Truth – Rev. Kyle McClellan, Senior Minister, Grace Presbyterian Church – John 14:7-14
Intro. Jesus has said some troubling things to his desciples in this discourse through a few chapters of John. For instance, he has said that one of them will betray him. He has said to Peter that he will deny or desert him. But this passage starts with the command, let not your hearts be troubled.
The Big Idea: Jesus’ oneness with the Father has implications for our lives and ministry.
I. What if the request had been granted? (v. 8; cf.: Exodus 33:23).
What if Jesus had granted Philip’s request to see the Father? Philip wants to see and be assured that God is indeed in this new kingdom that Christ has begun. Moses got to see God’s glory. He wanted to as well. What if Jesus would have granted this request?
Exodus 33 is a story about what happens when people see God’s glory. Moses is hidden by God in the cleft of the rock while God passes by because if anyone sees God’s glory they die.
They had seen Jesus raising people miraculously from the dead, healing people, turning water to wine, etc. but had missed that Jesus IS God. To see Jesus is to see the Father. This was hard for the disciples to see and comprehend because Jesus said he was going to die. How does God die for sinful people?
II. Hearing and believing is seeing (vv. 9-11).
There is a surprise in verse 10. The surprise is when Jesus says he is speaking the father is working. How does this come about? Normally we are told that “seeing is believing.” In this economy of Christ, however, hearing and believing IS SEEING. Hearing and believing what the Word of God says is how we see God the Father at work.
III. What greater works? (v. 12).
What are these greater works that Jesus references that we will do? It is true, his disciples did raise the dead and cast out demons. But none of them calmed the sea. None of them were resurrected three days after they were martyred. So what does he mean we will do greater works than Jesus?
Greater in terms of quantity and scope. Jesus had 120 followers as the book of Acts starts. But as the Holy Spirit comes on Peter at Pentecost, thousands of people come to know and become followers of Christ. The good news also spreads throughout all the Roman empire and beyond – a greater scope than mainly Jerusalem and surrounding areas.
Greater in terms of proclaiming the source. All that we accomplish is a testimony to God’s faithfulness and God’s power, not ours. We have this treasure is jars of clay, is what Paul says. Literally jars of clay refers to bed pans kept in rooms overnight.
IV. Easy on the “name it and claim it” nonsense (vv. 13-14).
There are those who teach that these verses teach us to bring our list of consumer items and needs that we want and Jesus as the genie will give them to us if we have enough faith.
The qualifications that Jesus puts on this command to ask him to grant us anything is that we pray according to Jesus’ mission and according to the Father being glorified in his Son.
We are being called to pray backwards as Bryan Chappell has said, praying with God’s end and purposes in mind. We are petitioning God to grant us requests that are in accord with the ministry and mission of Jesus. Is it a fundamental part of the Christian faith that we have a nice car and a house of 17 rooms? Happy all the time? No. We confuse our wants with our needs.
We are like the kids who pray that God will grant them chocolate cake for breakfast.
May we pray like the lady prayed whose husband was sick and dying. She asked for God’s will to be done first, and then to spare and heal her husband. Secondly, she prayed that God will give her strength for whatever He decides – that she would see God and his mission ans purposes as more than enough and satisfying.
8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 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’? 10 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. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.