O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever (1 Chr 16:34). Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church - Winnipeg, MB
Show us the Father
Show us the Father
Based on John 14:1-14
Preached on May 18, 2014
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Fellow baptized saints, how well do you know God? Would you know Him if you saw Him? Do you think you would know if you were looking at God? We all like to think we would, right? It is what we are waiting for, isn't it? To see the glory of God? But would your earthly eyes recognize Him?
On the day of the resurrection, Mary thought Jesus was the gardener. Thomas refused to believe in Him. The two on the road did not recognize Him until He broke the bread. Oh, they saw alright, but they expected to see something else.
The truth is we want to see God – His glory - but we have set our own rules for what that means. We have established our own boundaries. We sinful creatures think we know what the true glory of our Creator ought to look like. We even consider ourselves experts when it comes to His glory, and make judgments about it all the time. "This is good. This is not," we say, like we were there when He completed His creation and He asked our opinion. We don't actually want Him to reveal Himself to us the way He wants. We demand that He show Himself to us the exact way we want. And then, in our limitless wisdom and understanding, we imagine that this will be enough – that once He has shown Himself to us the way we want – then we will believe.
"Lord, show us the Father and it is enough for us."
Philip spoke up in the upper room that night, not just for himself, not just for the disciples, but for every one of us. He showed why every one of us is riddled with doubts, filled with fears, and empty of understanding when it comes to God and His things. How do we know what will be enough? Do we even know what we are looking for?
This is the actual problem – what robbed us of peace in the first place - that we think we know. That we presume we should be the ones to decide. This was the problem in the garden, and it is the problem now. We are not the ones who know good and evil. We are not the ones who get to decide. We are not the ones who get to tell God what is enough – because we are looking for the wrong thing. We do not know the glory of God.
Judas had left them all in the upper room not a few moments before our text and immediately when he had departed Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified." What, now?!? When you are betrayed? When one of your closest disciples hands you over to be crucified on the cross? Yes. Because the true glory of God is not health, wealth and happiness. It is not success, power and pleasure. It is showing charity to those who don't deserve it – loving the unlovable – being merciful to those who should not receive mercy. This is the glory of God.
So often we pray for these things we think we need – health, wealth, happiness – success, power, pleasure – when really what we should be crying out for is mercy. Have mercy Lord – Help me! I don't even know what I really need!
"Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." 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'? 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."
Look at Me. I am the mercy of the Father. I am the message. If you are looking for something else, you will never find it. For the greatest glory of God is not a spectacular miracle like the parting of the Red Sea, or the healing of a man born blind. The greatest work God ever did was letting us murder Him in the person of His Son so that by it He might make propitiation for all the evil in the world. I have come to show you mercy. I have come because your hearts are troubled. I have come, not so you may see, but so you may hear the words the Father speaks. I am His Word. I am the Word of God. And I tell you, do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God. Believe in Me. Man's glory is not God's glory. I am here for mercy. I go to the cross that the glory of God might be shown to the whole world. I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
What can we say to such promises? How do you respond to such a deliberate sacrifice for your sake? With faith. The way of the cross is not free of problems. Not for Christ. Not for you. Only God wants to love the unlovable. Only God wants to show mercy to those who should not receive mercy. Yet God works through you showing just how far His mercy extends. God has given you faith in Him in order to love the unlovable through you. And you know who I'm talking about. That person in your life you "can't" speak to, "can't" work with, "can't" love. Yeah, I know, God says, they may not deserve your love. But you didn't deserve mine, yet behold the cross. This is the glory of God – that I love you.
Fellow baptized saints, how well do you know God? Would you know Him if you heard Him? Yes, you would. You do, even this very moment, as you hear Him preach you the truth. For although your eyes will not see His glory until the Last Day, you know Him now because you hear His voice. And although you've tried to play the game according to your own rules, you trust Him now, because He is merciful. So until that great and glorious day comes when you will see Him face to face, He leaves you this promise. I go to prepare a place for you, and I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Rev. Cameron Schnarr