Show Us the Father

During the Master’s farewell discourse, Philip of Bethsaida asked for a mystical revelation of God. Yeshua’s response revealed a deep truth.

Artwork from the Torah Club Jesus, My Rabbi study, lesson "Show Us the Father". (Image and art © First Fruits of Zion)

In the Messianic Era, God will be revealed to all people. The knowledge of God will cover the earth.

The Prophet Isaiah says, “Your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher” (Isaiah 30:20). In that day, everyone will know the LORD, and the revelation of God will be universal.

After Yeshua’s last meal with His disciples, the departing Messiah said to them, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him” (John 14:7). The disciples had not completely failed to know Yeshua, but their questions suggest that they had not yet pierced the deeper mystery of His identity. Yeshua predicted that “from now on,” that is, from the hour of the Son of Man’s glory—His death, resurrection, and ascension—they would know Him. They would know Him as the way to the Father, the true revelation of God and vivifying life of the Almighty, and they would come to the Father through Him.

Philip of Bethsaida took the offer and said, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us” (John 14:8). Philip requested a mystical revelation on the order of a divine vision. Similarly, Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory” (Exodus 33:18), but the LORD answered, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” (Exodus 33:20).

Rabbi Yeshua replied to Philip with a gentle rebuke, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip?” (John 14:9). The Master used the misunderstanding to hint toward a deeper aspect of His identity. He said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

The prologue to the Gospel of John explained, “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father” (John 1:14), and “No one has seen God at any time,” but the only begotten Son “has explained Him” (John 1:18). The term “only begotten” alludes to the Abraham and Isaac story. In Genesis 22:2, the LORD tells Abraham to sacrifice his “only son” Isaac. According to the Talmud, Isaac looked exactly like Abraham:

God made the features of Isaac’s face like Abraham’s so that [everyone who saw him] cried out, “Abraham begat Isaac!” [They looked so much alike that] whoever wanted to speak to Abraham would speak to Isaac, and whoever wanted to speak to Isaac would speak to Abraham. (Talmud)

The Master seems to have alluded to the same story about Abraham and Isaac when He told Philip, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Just as Isaac looked exactly like Abraham, the apostles beheld the glory of God in Yeshua of Nazareth. As a son is the image of his father, the Son is the image of the Father.

Not even Moses could see God. God is not man that He might be seen as a man. He is not part of the created order of things. He is completely removed from the reality that is our universe of perception. He is beyond what we can know, feel, touch, taste, smell, hear, or see. Yeshua, on the other hand, is a man. He is tangible in the same sense that we understand reality. The disciples could see Him, and He told them, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”

Every human being is supposed to be a representation of God’s image on earth. Human beings are made in God’s image and God’s likeness (Genesis 1:26-27), and every person can be said to be made in “the image and glory of God” (1 Corinthians 11:7), albeit imperfectly. However, sin and human failings obscure that image. Yeshua lived sinlessly, always subordinating His own will to the Father’s. He became a second Adam in that He succeeded in the mission of bearing God’s image. The apostles explained, “He is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4), “He is the image of the invisible God, the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature” (Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3). His physical appearance was irrelevant. Yeshua revealed God’s character and truth. As the sent one of the Father, Yeshua perfectly represented the Father. The Talmud says that “a man’s shaliach (apostle) is like the man himself.”

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This year Torah Clubs are studying the Gospels from a Messianic Jewish perspective. Every week Club members encounter Yeshua of Nazareth in his Jewish context. Discover the historical and cultural backdrops of the gospels and be amazed as the teachings of Yeshua snap into focus and clarity. Unravel his difficult words and parables; study Jewish parallels to his teachings; and ultimately know Jesus better.

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