John 14: 7-14
7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.
12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
We have known the Father through the Son. Indeed, Jesus now tells the disciples that they have actually seen God the Father. This is the vision of faith, and of our knowledge, as Jesus tells us that he is in the Father and the Father in him. The unknowable, in this life to our natural senses, has become a knowable truth of faith.
This is a great mystery, and still the disciples do not understand. Philip persists in asking Jesus to show them the Father, and now Jesus rebukes him. Having spent so much time so closely with Jesus, hearing his teachings and witnessing all his signs and miracles – the healing miracles, the feeding of the five thousand, the walking on water, the raising of the dead – can Philip not yet see Jesus’ divinity? Can he not believe?
As the apostles are given their mission, to carry the word of God, the truth of Jesus Christ, into the whole world, so Jesus tells them that they too can perform great works, great miracles, if they believe in Jesus as God the Son. As we know, the truth of this teaching was important in bringing people to have faith in the risen Christ. The Book of the Acts of the Apostles tells us of incidents when people’s faith was newly awoken through miracles worked by the apostles in the name of Jesus.
The apostles are sent to heal and to save in the name of Jesus. Jesus tells them that they will do even greater works than he himself has done, perhaps meaning that they will spread the message of Christ throughout the whole world. Whatsoever they ask to be done in Jesus’ name, Jesus will do this for them, and still in complete obedience to his Father. More broadly, we may think of the ways in which we seek to live our lives in accordance with Christ’s name, welcoming Jesus within our souls to heal us, and so that we may do good for others, through practical works and as a Christian example to all.
‘Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.
For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.
And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.’ Acts 13 46-48