John Chapter 14, beginning at verse 7. Jesus speaking to the eleven disciples the night before his death says, "If ye had known Me, ye should have known my Father also. And from henceforth, ye know Him and have seen Him." Philip saith on him, "Lord, show us the Father and it suffices us." Jesus saith unto him, "Have I been such a long time with you and hast thou not known Me, Philip? Ye that hath seen Me hath seen the Father. And how saith thou then, 'Show us the Father'? Believeth 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. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me or else believe Me for the very works sake. 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. And whatever ye shall ask in My name that will I do that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in My name, I will do it." May God bless through our hearts this reading of His word.
Turning then to John, Chapter 14 we come to the passage which we shall deal with this morning, John, Chapter 14, verses 7 to 14. If we were to give a title to this perhaps we could call this section, "Jesus is God." That's the claim that Christ makes here in the first part of it, although there is much more than that in these verses. As we come to Verse 7 of Chapter 14, we come to a very important moment in the life of any disciple of Jesus Christ. Whether you were with that group on that particular evening in the Upper Room the night before Jesus died, or whether you're sitting here in Grace Church in 1971, this is a very, very important portion of Scripture. It was important to them as they heard it; it's important to us as we study it this morning. The reason I say it's important is because it just may be the most staggering thing that Jesus every said. There are so many unbelievable things just to the superficial understanding that when we gather them all up in these few little verses they are almost overwhelming. The fact that He claims to be God is staggering enough; the fact that He says we will do greater things that He did is even more staggering and then the concluding statement that if we ask anything in His name He will do it is even more staggering. These words are monumental words in declaring not only who Jesus is, but what He intends to do in and for those who belong to Him. And needless to say, we could spend weeks and weeks just on these verses, but we'll endeavor to do it all up in just the brief time we have this morning.
Now as I said these words, every time I read them, they stun me a little more and I don't think that I'm ever going to find out all that's in them until someday when I have that perfect knowledge with the Lord, nevertheless, let's unfold as much of it as we can to our understanding this morning. And I'm sure you'll be thrilled as you see what Jesus is saying here. Now let me review just a little of the scene so you'll get a grasp on what's happening. Jesus is about to die and this is the night before his crucifixion. Many, many things have transpired in the years, three brief years, of his ministry, and now it all comes down to his death. And on that last night as I have been telling you, He is giving his final address to His eleven disciples. He has already dismissed Judas to carry out the deed of betrayal and Judas is out doing that now and in the meantime Jesus deals with these eleven disciples. These are strategic hours because He must prepare them for the traumatic shock of His death and so he instructs them, he warns them, he teaches them, he loves them a little bit, he commands them, He gives them some promises. He basically wraps up all his final instruction and revelation and gives it to them on this last occasion. And so these are Jesus' final words to His beloved eleven disciples. And you remember back in Chapter 13 He began this final evening with them by teaching them a profound lesson of loving humility. He washed their feet. Then beginning in verse 21 of the same chapter he began to tell them that he was going to die; that he was going to leave them and that he would leave and they wouldn't be able to come. Well, needless to say, there was sorrowing. He told them, however, in the meantime to just keep loving each other and they would survive if they loved each other and not only that but that they would be a tremendous witness to the world if they loved each other. And so, he has taught them loving humility by example, he has told them to love each other by command, he has told them that he is leaving them.
Well the fact of his leaving is a tremendous blow to these eleven disciples and so their hearts are seriously troubled. And as he comes to Chapter 14 he spends the entire 14th chapter comforting their troubled hearts. They don't want him to leave. Their hearts are broken over the fact that he's going. They have put all their love in that one man, and it's easy to see how they could do that, and the fact that he is going away and leave them in a hostile, hating world is a sad thing to realize. They don't quite understand how he can be the Messiah and become a victim of the people. They don't quite understand how it fits that the Messiah is going to die. It doesn't seem to register. Then on top of that to be told that one of their own is a traitor and will betray Jesus is even a more disastrous blow. And then to hear that the most vociferous, the loudest mouth of all, the leader of the group, Peter, is going to deny Jesus three times just sort of tops it all off and they don't quite understand how all of this can happen to them. The Messiah who dies doesn't figure, Peter denying him, one of them a betrayer; all of these things. Then the fact that he's going to leave them and leave them alone and so their hearts are broken and then in 14 Jesus begins to deal with their broken hearts. And you notice in verse 1 he says this: "Let not your heart be troubled." And with that statement he launches into an entire chapter of comfort for their troubled hearts. Chapter 14 is the comfort chapter of the New Testament. It's comfort to troubled hearts. And we've already seen how he comforted them in the first six verses by telling them held come back for them. He says, don't worry, I'll be back to get you. If 1 go away, I'm only going away to prepare a place for you so I can come again and take you there. That's his first promise of comfort.
Now as we come to our verses, verses 7 to 14, Jesus continues to comfort them by giving them three great revelations. Three great revelations, and you have them on your outline. The revelation of his person to them; the revelation of his power in them; the revelation of his promise for them. Three great revelations. And they are comforting revelations. To know this is comforting. And these are things that are brand new revelations in one sense and yet they are things that he has really been saying all along. Perhaps the fact that he forcefully puts them in a new phraseology gives them a kind of a freshness. Revelations, then, designed to bring comfort.
Let's look at the first one. And first of all we see the revelation of his person to them. You can see how important it is in the midst of all of their questions about who he is and questions that perhaps were answered a few days before and now are unanswered because they can't figure out why he's going to die and why it is that held become a victim if he's really the Messiah and why it is he can't seem to defend himself and he's being victimized not only by the hostile world but by two of his own disciples who betray him and deny him, and so he need to reiterate to them who he really is. And so he reveals in kind of a fresh way his person to them. And as I said earlier, it may be the most staggering words that Jesus ever said because the claim is so tremendous. What does he reveal to them about himself? He reveals one thing; he reveals to them that he is God, just that simple. He is God. And of course this is the running debate of all history about Jesus. Everybody who studies about Jesus faces that issue because of the claim of Jesus to be God. Some people conclude that Jesus is a madman. He's simply a psychological basket case; somebody who had delusions of grandeur. He was some kind of a paranoid. Other people conclude that Jesus was a fraud and other people say he was just a good teacher which is one option you don't really have because good teachers don't claim to be God. Others say he was God. But the running debate has to be over whether or not Jesus is God or not and that's really the issue. And here Jesus makes the very simple claim to be God. No less than God.
Now you say well, in what way can this be a comfort to the disciples. Well, keep this in mind. Go back to verse 4 and I'll show you how to know he's God is a comfort. Verse 4 Jesus has said, "Now I'm going to go away and he says in verse 4 now where I go you know and the way you know. You know where I'm going." Well, what do you mean by that? Well, you know where I came from, right? He's told them many times that he proceeded from whom? The Father. He's told them that all along. Now he says you know where I'm going to go. He's also told them prior to this that he's going back to the Father so he says, "You know where I'm going and the way you know." And the disciples are kind of scratching their heads and Thomas pops up and says, "Lord, we don't know where you're going. How would we know the way?" Thomas isn't really too sure about it. Thomas doesn't know what to expect after death and we talked about this in our sermon several weeks ago.
So Jesus says to him, I am the way, don't worry how to get there, I am the way, I'm the truth, I'm the light, no man cometh unto the Father but by me. If you know me, you know the way to get there. That's all he's saying. But they're still not too clear about the Father. They're not too sure what God looks like; they're not too sure about how to get to God and they kind of look toward the time of their death and figure, boy, after we die it's kind of a mystery as to how to get to the Father. We don't exactly know where he is or what he's like and they're not too sure that they really do know the way. Jesus says I'm going to God and I'm going to take you to God. But they're uncertain about it. Their faith isn't really too strong. And, they're not at all sure about the way to get to the Father. They're not too sure even about the Father. What's God really like? And so in their confusion about God, Jesus declares to them that they don't need to have any confusion about God at all because he is God and if they know him they know God. You see, Jesus says I'm going to the Father and someday you'll come along to the Father's house. But they're not too sure about the Father. They don't know too much about him and it's hard for them to believe, and so, Jesus wants to bring it back down to earth by declaring, Look fellows, I am one with the Father. I am God. Don't worry about it. And you remember back in John 1:13 the great statement of John regarding Jesus, he said this: "And the word was made flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father." Jesus Christ is God. And so with that in mind we come to verse 7 and watch what the dialogue has to say.
Jesus says then to them; they're kind of quizzing about God; they're not too sure about the Father or the way to get there ..."If ye had known me ye should have known my Father also." Stop right there. Now Jesus says if you guys really knew me you wouldn't be worried about who the Father was. Now in a sense it is true that the disciples did not know Jesus. They had some knowledge of who he was. They had declared that he was Messiah, the anointed of God. Peter himself even made the statement that he was the son of the living God; that he was God in that sense,
but Jesus said to him you didn't make that on your own, Peter, the Father gave that to you to say. And so, even though they had a knowledge of Jesus, that knowledge was somewhat limited. And Jesus is saying if you really knew me in depth, fully, you'd know the Father also. If you're so quizzical about the Father because there must be some loopholes in your knowledge about me. Because if they had fully known Jesus they would have fully known God. That's what he's saying. If you really knew me you would have a full, rich knowledge of God and when I say I'm going to my Father and there's a dwelling place in the Father's house for you and some day you'll go there, you wouldn't worry about how to get there or who the Father was or any of the details if you really knew me you'd know the Father. You see they had really failed to see Jesus fully as God. And so, they have these fears and these doubts and these questions because they're not too sure.
Now Jesus obviously is making a tremendous claim. He not only said in verse 6 that he is the way to God, the truth about God and the very life of God; now he says he is God. Now keep it in mind Jesus is not a manifestation of God, Jesus is God Manifest. The old subvalion error was that Jesus was just a radiation of God. A manifestation of God. No, He is not a manifestation of God. He is God manifest. And there's a big difference. So Christ reveals to them his person. That he is God. And he'll unfold a little more of it in a minute. And you see, they know Jesus loves them. They know Jesus cares for them. And he wants them to know that God feels the same way so that when Jesus is absent they can still maintain a confidence that God will carry out his love and his protection because God and Jesus are one.So they don't need to worry about how to get to God or about the Father if they really knew Jesus they'd know the Father also. But having said that, Jesus makes a very puzzling statement in verse 7. Look at it. "And from henceforth, ye know him," that is the Father, "and have seen him." Now that's a very difficult statement to interpret. It has two possible explanations and I've going to give you both of them and then I'll tell you which one I feel is best. There are adequate scholars on both sides. More adequate scholars on one particular side. All right.
"From henceforth ye know him and have seen him." Now he's saying to the disciples, from now on, that's what henceforth means, from now on you know him. Now he just said in the same verse you don't really know me so you don't really know him, but he says from now on you'll know him. Now the question is, when does the "now on" begin. The first possible interpretation is that it is immediate. That what he is saying is, Men, from this moment on, right now on this evening before my death, this hour, this split second that I have just declared to, the statement if you knew me you'd know him, from this moment on you know. And you have seen him from this moment on. You've got it all straight from this moment on. That's one interpretation. Christ has just declared that he is God in the statement of verse 7 and now they know it.
Well, that's possible but it's got some problems. The problem is this: First of all he had declared it before and they didn't get it. Right? Why would they necessarily get it this time when he just said it? The other problem is this: In the very next verse Philip gives evidence that they don't get it. Because Philip says, well, Lord, if you'd show us God that would take careof it. He still doesn't know who Jesus is in the full sense, does he? If he asks Jesus to show him God then he doesn't understand. So you see, I don't feel it could have that immediate fulfillment because in the very next verse it's proof positive that they didn't understand.
That leaves another interpretation possible. And that is that it has a continuing future meaning. Now I'll explain this to you and it's got to get a little grammatical, so hang on. The Greeks often said things in the wrong tense as we would look at it in the English. Greeks did a lot of things with tense, you know, past, present and future. And one of the things they did was they often used the present tense and the past tense to speak of the future, which can be a little confusing, right? And they used it when future events were so positive that they had to happen, that they were absolute, they would speak of them as if they had already taken place. You see? They did this all the time. And that is what I believe Jesus is doing here. He is saying from now on into the future and in a little while you will fully understand, but it is so positive, it is so secure that it's just as good as if it's already happened. You see? That has a future meaning. He is saying in a little while starting from now, through the events that are going to happen, in a little while you'll get it all straight. And they would. In the events that were coming, the death of Jesus Christ, his resurrection, his ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit, when all of that would happen in the next 40 days, you know what? They understood, didn't they? They had it all. They got it. In fact, even after the resurrection, just the death and the resurrection of Jesus were convincing to some of them, at least Thomas looked at Jesus and said what? My Lord... that's one thing, but then what did he say? My God. You see, Thomas got the message. And he didn't really get it until after the resurrection. So you see what Jesus is saying, Thomas obviously didn't understand before the resurrection, did he? Obviously. He didn't even believe Jesus arose. And so Jesus here is saying in the events that will follow up until the day of Pentecost when the Spirit comes to indwell you, at that time, fully and completely, you'll have it all. And can't you imagine what a day it was in the day of Pentecost when the Spirit of God came and everything fell into place and they understood it all? Jesus will tell them later, and we'll study it in days to come, when the Spirit comes he will lead you into all what? Truth. He'll bring all things to your remembrance. He will show you the things of me. See. And when the Spirit came at
Pentecost he cleared up the whole fog and they understood who
Jesus was and they understood total his person as God. It all falls into place. As I say, even a prelude to that time, Thomas understood it after the resurrection when he said Jesus was God.
And so then Jesus is saying you're going to understand and it's positive. It's secure. The understanding will come. Particularly at the coming of the Holy Spirit. And you remember the Holy Spirit's ministry was to point to Christ and declare who he was. And the Holy Spirit did that in the light of these apostles even as he does it in our lives.
Well, now we come to verse 8. And this shows, as I said, that they didn't understand at this point. Philip says unto him, "Lord, show us the Father and it suffices us." Now, as I said, verse 7 couldn't have been immediately fulfilled or Philip wouldn't have asked this question. It shows his ignorance. It's a shallow, faithless, ignorant question. And it reveals his lack of knowledge. He had heard what Jesus had said but he still didn't understand. His knowledge of Christ was incomplete; his knowledge of God was incomplete. And he did what so many people have done throughout history, he said Jesus, I need to see. See? It's a contrast between faith and sight again. It wasn't enough for Philip to believe, he wanted to see something. Maybe he remembered back in the Old Testament in the 33rd chapter of Exodus where Moses was tucked in a rock and he saw the glory of God, the after glory of God pass by. Maybe he was thinking about was it Moses, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu and the seventy elders of Israel who saw the God of Israel, it says as a body of heaven in its clearness. Some kind of a revelation of God's presence. Maybe he even recalled the words of Isaiah, I think it's in the 40th chapter where Isaiah says the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.
Maybe, he thought of those things, but I don't think so. I don't think at this point he was a biblical scholar at all. I think he was a faithless disciple who wanted sight to substitute for faith. He wants full visible proof. Well, you know, you can understandhis mind. Well, if you're going away, Lord, and it's all going to really get bad, and it's going to be a little insecure, could you just let us see God so we'll know for sure you're not whipping us, that when you do go away, you'll really go to the Father's house, you're really going to set it up, up there, you're really going to come and get us and really going to take us there. Could God come and confirm it? Well, that's a typical, faithless idea. He wants him to show God to them. And of course he's probably in the back of his mind figuring, well, if Jesus could do that, then we'd know he's for real, right? I mean if Jesus could just call up God and say God, could you step out for a moment and show yourself, then they would really know that Jesus was who he claimed to be, right? So he wants this kind of security of sight. Show us God and that will take care of it. And they just really didn't trust much.
I'm thinking of Acts, chapter 1. They really wanted to just be sure about everything. And in Acts, chapter 1 you remember when Christ was ascending into heaven? They stared at him all the way up and the two angels stood by and they said you men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing into heaven. Now I don't know why they were gazing into heaven in particular, but I have a secret idea that somebody had a pencil and they were trying to chart the course, see, to make sure they could get there, right? That's stretching the point. But they were really afraid that this might not all be, you know, just what they thought it would be and Jesus would be gone and they wouldn't know what to do or how to get there. They figured if Jesus could bring God into the scene that would just kind of clear it all up. God would be kind of a guarantee pledge that the future that Jesus promised them did really await them. Well, that's so typical. So typical of little faith. The demand to see everything before you can accept it.
Now watch verse 9. What an answer. "Jesus saith unto him, "Oh, this is powerful, "have I been such a long time with you and yet hath thou not known me, Philip?" Oh what a statement. And you know, I believe in that statement. There was not only a rebuke to Philip, but I believe there was a pathos in the voice of Jesus. Can you imagine the heartbreaking realization in Jesus that three years he had poured his life into these 11 guys, or 12 to begin with, one of them was a traitor, one of them a swearing denier, and the 10 that were left were of little faith. Life could get discouraging, you know? The night before his death and they still don't know who he is. Philip, have I been so long with you and you still don't know me? It's a sad thing to realize that after all the displays of Jesus' deity repeatedly; they still didn't get the message, fully. Nobody ever promised the ministry would be easy. It wasn't easy for Jesus to make those disciples. It was absolutely difficult. If you get discouraged about the person you're trying to disciple, don't feel bad. Jesus must have been just as discouraged as you or more.
Then the middle of verse 9 says this: Here's the great He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father. What a statement. Now that makes Jesus either a lunatic or else God to make a statement like that. If you've seen me, you've seen the Father, and how sayest thou then show us the Father. Philip, you're standing there staring me in the face and asking me to show you God. Open your eyes. You've been looking at me for three years. The writer of Hebrews says in chapter 1, verse 3 that Jesus Christ is the express image of God's person. The apostle Paul said in Colossians and I read it to you in verse 15 of chapter 1, that Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God and later on in Chapter 2 he says verse 9, in him dwelleth all the fullness what? of the Godhead bodily. Jesus is God. And he's saying, Philip, Philip, three years you're staring me in the face and asking me to show you God?
It's a sad thing. It must have been a deep pain in the heart of Jesus. The last night before his death; three years of pouring his life into these men and they haven't gotten it yet. And you know, we can expect that from a non‑believer, right? You go back to Chapter 8 of John, I think it's Chapter 8, verse 19, and the unbelieving Jew saith where is your Father? They say this to Jesus. Jesus answered "Ye neither know me nor my Father. If ye had known me ye should have known my Father also." See it's the same claim, isn't it? Only we can understand how the unbelievers didn't know him, right? But for the very same statement to be made to disciples who have spent three years with Jesus doesn't seem to make much sense. A heartbreaking moment. And I'll tell you, follow‑up and discipleship can be heartbreaking. It was heartbreaking for Jesus and it's been heartbreaking for me and it's probably been heartbreaking for you. I can think of people that I had the privilege of leading to Jesus Christ that I poured my life into for a year, two years and three years and today you wouldn't even want to claim them. It happens. It happens. It's a tragedy. They're not all like that but there's enough of them like that to occupy a little section of your mind.
So you know what Jesus did and I love it and I've claimed it many times. Jesus went as far as he could go then he went to heaven and turned it over to the Holy Spirit, right? Is that what he did? Sure. And you know it's a great principle for you to remember in discipleship. You take it as far as you cantake it and move on. And Jesus said I'm going to go and send you the Comforter. Turn it over to the Holy Spirit. Then Jesus hits the key to everything. Philip has said show me, show me, show me and what's the first word in verse 10? What is it? What is it? Believest. Jesus doesn't do any trick for him. Jesus doesn't give him any display. He just says, "Believest thou not that I am in the Father and the Father in me." Believest. Look at verse 11. Believe me. He doesn't not show, he says believe. Philip asked for sight; Jesus gave him faith.
Now that is exactly what Christianity is all about, my friend. Christianity is all about believing. If you came here to Grace Church this morning expecting to see a miracle, you won't see one. If you expected to hear the voice of God booming out of the ceiling, you won't hear it. If you expected to see the face of God, you won't see it. If you expected to experience a supernatural revelation and some kind of ecstatic phenomena, you won't experience it. If you expected to hear voices from heaven, you won't heart them. If you expected to see your dead aunt, you won't see her. Or anybody else. This is not a séance. Now Satan can duplicate all those things in counterfeit, so if you want that, you can go to a séanceand get it. But this church is all about faith, not sight. You know something; I have never seen Jesus like those disciples saw him. I have never seen Jesus. I have never had a vision, except after eating chili and ice cream late. I have never met, knowingly met an angel, except my wife who is an angel. I know it because she is always up in the air happy about something. I have never heard heavenly voices, except the choir. I have never seen my dead aunt, except in her coffin. I have never seen God with my eyes and yet there is nothing that I know any surer than I know that God is Christ is and the Holy Spirit is and my spiritual eyes can see things that my physical eyes could never even conceive of.
Christianity is all about believing. It is not all about seeing. It is not all about miracles and strange phenomena. I don't want visions and I don't want super fantastic ecstatic things to happen; I want one thing; I want what those disciples asked for in Luke chapter 17, verse 5 when they said this, "Lord, increase my faith." That's what I want, because it is by faith that I perceive God. I don't want anything but more faith, and Jesus is operating on faith and this book is a faith book. Christianity is all about believing. And three years had gone by andPhilip and probably he's a spokesman for the other 10, didn't have sufficient faith to settle their troubled hearts just by believing, they had to have visible signs. No wonder Jesus calls them the little band of little faith. God deals in faith.
You say what's faith. Well, a little boy wants to find faith this way: He said it's believing in something you know ain't so. That's not faith. That's the opposite. Faith is believing in something you know is so. Faith has support. Faith has evidence. Now watch how Jesus gives the evidence for faith. He said, Philip, you're to believe me. On what basis? Verse 10, in the middle. "The word that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself." Philip, have you been listening for three years? Have you been listening? Did you hear what I said all these years? The words that he spoke. What kind of words? Let me just reiterate some of them to you so you'll know.
John 3:34. Don't try to follow me; I'm going to go fast. For he whom God hath said speaketh the words of God. This is John the Baptist's testimony to Jesus. For God giveth not the spirit by measure unto him. You see, he whom God hath sent speaks the words of God. This that Jesus has said is right out of the mouth of God. In Chapter 7 of John's gospel, verse 16 we studied this: Jesus answered them and said, My doctrine or teaching is not mine, but his that sent me. Then we saw in Chapter 8 in verse 28 these words: Then said Jesus unto them when you have lifted up the son of man then you shall know that I am he and that I do nothing of myself listen to this...but as my Father hath taught me, I speak this things. Verse 38 of the same chapter. I speak that which I have seen with my Father. Verse 40. But now ye seek to kill me a man that hath told you the truth which I have heard of God. In Chapter 12, verse 49, I think of another one. Jesus said this: For I have not spoken of myself, but the Father who sent me he gave me a commandment what I should say and whatI should speak, every word that came out of the mouth of Jesus came out of the mouth of God. And it was devastating. The disciples daily word is affected by it even as the world was.
In Chapter 7 of John, verse 46 you remember the rulers in the temple wanted to catch Jesus Christ and capture him so they sent the temple police after him. The temple police went to get him but when they got there they were so dumbfounded they came back without him and here is their report: "The officers answered, never man spoke like this man." All they had to do is hear his words and they couldn't lift an arm to touch him. In Matthew Chapter 7 we found a great illustration of the power of the words of Jesus. Matthew Chapter 7, verse 28 says: "And it came to pass when Jesus had ended these sayings the people were astonished." For he taught them as one having authority, not as the Scribes. The words of Jesus ought to be enough to penetrate the mind and the heart of any man and conjure up faith. Jesus says, Philip, haven't you been listening? All of his great I AM's; all of his teachings, his insights probing into the heart of a man, the times when he spoke revealing an innate knowledge of a human heart where there was now way to know what was in that heart except that he could read it. The times that he answered questions that men wouldn't ask with their lips but would ask in their hearts. Hadn't they heard this?
Listen, our faith is based on the words of Jesus. But not only that, take a look at verse 10. At the bottom of the verse he says, "The father that dwelleth in me he doeth the works. Believe me, not only for my words that I am in the Father and the Father in me, or else believe me for the very works' sake." He says to them; listen, if my words aren't sufficient proof, how about my works. Have you been watching the miracles? I always think of the blind beggar in the 9th chapter and they came to him and they said, well, where did this guy come from? We don't understand this person. Where did he come from; this guy that gave you sight? And the blind beggar looks at them rather sarcastically and says, Whew, funny. You don't know where he came from and he opened my eyes? It's obvious where he came from. Even the blind beggar knew he was from God. He says, Philip, haven't you been watching? Haven't you been seeing what I've been doing? The miracles of Jesus Christ are proof positive. John Chapter 5, verse 36 gives us an insight into that. But I have greater witness than that of John (Jesus is speaking) for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do bear witness of me. And you can read it in Chapter 10 of John as well. And so Jesus says, you don't need to see anything, Philip. You see it. Here I am. What am I going to show you? This is God manifest. Believe it by my words. Believe it by my works. But believe it.
You see as I said Christianity is all about believing. And so you see he reveals to them the tremendous truth that he is God. What a comfort it is to know. And if they could grasp this they could rest easy, knowing they were secure.Not only the love of Jesus, but the love of God.
Secondly he reveals his power in them. Verse 12. Now in verse 12 and in verses 13 and 14 we come to some fabulous promises. I mean they are so fabulous that we can't begin to plumb the depths. But let me just put it as quickly as I can. Verse 12. Here is the revelation of his power in them. He's given them his person and here is his power in them. This is tremendous. "Verily, verily," truly, truly, Amen, Amen, "I say unto you, he that believeth on me" Now watch this one, "the works that I do shall he do also." Now that's pretty astounding, right? You believe on me you'll do the works that I do. But get this one. "And greater works than these shall he do because I go unto my Father." Now the key to that verse is the last statement. "Because I go unto my Father." The only way that you'll able to do the works that I have done and greater works is if I go to the Father. Why is that true? Because, when Jesus went to the Father he sent the Holy Spirit. And it was when the Holy Spirit came that the tremendous ability of the disciples to do miracles became just‑what really started their world with, started worldwide. They were able to do what Jesus did and greater than he had done in his lifetime, not in power, but in extent. The greater is not greater in power but greater in extent. And they were able to do it because he went away and sent the Holy Spirit.
You see friends, it's better, and we'll get to this later on in the chapter, it's better to have the indwelling Holy Spirit in every believer than to have Christ present on earth, isn't it? Because every one of us has the resident power of deity in the indwelling spirit. So he says, because I go away, you're going to do not only what I've done but greater things than I've even done. Fantastic promise. Now do you see how this is going to comfort them? They're thinking there, oh, man, Jesus is leaving. There goes the power, guys. That's it. I mean, we're going to be reduced to nothing. I mean, it's all over. And Jesus turns the tables and says, When I go away you're going to do greater things than I've done. What a promise. And it's only possible in the Holy Spirit. Kind of like when Paul said in Ephesians 3:20. "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding, abundantly beyond all we ask or think, according to the power that works within us. Greater. Greater in extent, not greater in power. You couldn't do any works that are greater in power than Jesus did, but greater, broader in extent is what he's saying. And you can think about it from a lot of angles.
For example, Jesus had never preached outside Palestine. His voice had never gone to the world of men. Within his lifetime Europe had never received the word of the gospel, but in that little lowly church in the first century of the church it had began to spread and it's still spreading today in 1971 by plane and ship and train and radio and TV and short-wave and tapes and who knows what else. The gospel is spreading to an extent that Jesus never even saw in terms of his own ministry. He saw it in terms of his own knowledge but not his own ministry. When it comes to the numbers and the extent and the power and the triumphs of the message of the cross, they were greater than ever in the days of Jesus, but there's more to this than just that. He's talking about miracles.
How is it that he can say to those disciples that you'll be able to do the things that I do. Work by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. And they did. You can read them in the book of Acts. In chapter 3 Peter and John performed a miracle, didn't they? Later on in chapter 5, and I want to read you just a section of verses in Chapter 5 to let you know that this is exactly what they did. Verse 12 says this. And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people. Now watch this. Verse 15. In so much that they brought forth the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and couches that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. That's how much power they had. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about into Jerusalem bringing sick folks unto them who were vexed with unclean spirits. Now watch this. And they were healed, every one. I mean to tell you friends, those guys had power. And in Hebrews the writer tells us in chapter 2, verse 4, God bearing them witness with signs and wonders and diverse miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit. Bearing more witness, the apostles who had first spoke the word, verse 3. Those apostles literally reproduced the miracles of Jesus. They had the same power to do the works that he did. And there he's talking about physicals works. But watch it, verse 12. He then says "You'll do greater works."
Now what would be greater than physical works? What kind? Spiritual works. And that's exactly what he's talking about. They did spiritual works. They did spiritual miracles to an extent that Jesus never did in his day. Just to begin in Acts chapter 2, Peter stood up and prayed and how many people were saved? Three thousand people. Did that ever happen in the ministry of Jesus? Never did. Never did. Did the gospel ever go to the Gentiles in the time of Jesus? No. It took Peter in the house of Cornelius and Paul and his great ministry to reach the Gentiles of the Gospel. It wasn't that Jesus couldn't do it; it was that Jesus designed not to do it that way, except for works through his apostles. Conversions took place everywhere. And as I was in Israel I kept realizing that the fact of the smallness of Israel. That's a little, tiny country. It's so small. And the sphere of the work of Jesus was so limited. And the people were so few. And to think that now today there are spiritual miracles happening every tick of the clock all over the world. We are seeing greater things in extent than Jesus ever saw in his own lifetime by the power of the indwelling spirit. Spiritual miracles being done by believers all over the world and you and I are in on it. What's the greatest spiritual miracle that God can perform? What is it? Salvation. It's the new birth and you and I are literally involved in that every time we introduce somebody to Jesus Christ. We're doing a spiritual miracle.
Now mark it, friends. This verse has primary reference to the disciples. Unless you don't believe that, you just go down to Forest Lawn and holler all you want "Come Forth," and when you get tired you come back home. This has primary reference to the apostles. You say does that mean we can't heal the sick? In a sense it does but if you want a good verse for that take James chapter 5 which says if somebody is sick don't say he be healed, call the elders of the church, anoint him with oil... that means give him a little medicine, oil was used for medicine; it's what they put on the wounds of the man in Luke 10 ... give him a little oil God for medicine and then pray for them and the prayer of faith shall save the sick.
You and I can see God heal by prayer, can't we? Even by the time of James which was written so early the apostolic‑‑they knew the apostolic healing belonged to the apostles. So, when somebody got sick, James didn't say, Find a healer and zap him. No. James says as early as 50 A.D. 50. He says call the elders and pray for him. Even that early. The age of miracles was fading away because the word of God was coming together. And those miracle gifts were only for those who confirmed the word before the word was complete. And so we can be in on God's marvelous healing miracles by prayer, but primary reference here is to the apostles. And yet there are spiritual miracles which we see happening in our own lives as we minister. And it's a marvelous thing to realize.
How exciting it is to be able to be involved in what God is doing spiritually and to do things greater than even Jesus saw in his own day. Do you know that there was never a revival in the whole ministry of Jesus? Did you know that? And yet in the history of man we've seen revivals all over the world, haven't we? Scotland, Ireland, England and America. Korea, Indonesia. Revivals are going on today. Spiritual miracles are happening in tremendous extents today and you and I are in on it. And it's all because Jesus went away and sent the Spirit.
All right, lastly. The revelation of his promise for them. And this is so good. This is so good. Verses 13 and 14. "And whatever ye shall ask in my name that will I do that the Father may be glorified in the Son if ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it." What a promise. You can just think, these guys are standing there and one of their thoughts has to be this: Oh, boy, Jesus is going away and where do we go for our resources? Right? I mean Jesus had fed them. He had helped them catch their fish. On one occasion he even provided their tax money out of the mouth of a fish. He supplied all their needs and now he's going away and the world doesn't like them. How are they going to get a job? How are they going to get a job? How are they going to fit back into the culture? It's going to be really rough. They don't have any resources. We're going to be all alone. Where are we going to get what we need? And they're just kind of mulling this over and so Jesus says, Men, I may be gone, but whatever you need ask me and I'll shoot it to you as fast as I can get it there. Well, that's a promise, isn't it? That's a fantastic promise. Whatever you need, it will be there. You see, the gap between where he is and where we are is closed as instantly as we pray. Do you know that? He says, just ask me. Even though I'm going to be absent you have access to all my supplies. But my God, Paul said, shall supply all your needs according to his riches in Christ. What a promise. Prayer will remove the distance and supply your needs.
You say well, you mean I can just ask God for anything? Is that Carte Blanche for every whim of the flesh? No, it's not. There's a qualifying statement repeated twice and I want you to get it and it will qualify every prayer that God answers. In both verses you see three words. In my name. You see it there? Whatever you ask in my name. Anything you ask in my name. What does that mean? Does that mean to tack on at the end of your prayer "in the name of Jesus, Amen"? No. That's not what it means.
First of all it means ‑‑ now watch this. I'm going to give you these and then we'll be done. But these are critical. It means that we pray in his person. The name of Jesus means all that he is, right? It's not a little formula. It's an acknowledgment of all that Christ did. It means first of all that we pray in his person. 'Watch what I mean by that. That means that when you pray, it is really Jesus Christ doing the asking. Did you get that? It is Jesus Christ doing the asking. You are praying in your full identification with him. You might even do it like this: "Dear Father, I'm asking for Jesus that you do this." Isn't that good? That kind of qualifies it. It kind of eliminates your "gimme, gimme, gimme" prayers. Because you're asking for Jesus that he do this.
Secondly it means that we are pleading the merits of his son. But we are asking it to be granted because of what Jesus ha s done for us. That's another little way: "Father, here's my request. Give it to me because of what Jesus has done." See, that gets your prayers up, doesn't it? A little loftier.
Thirdly, it means that we pray only for that which is consistent with the perfections of Christ. That what it means. Now let me give you a little practical formula. Here's how to pray. After every request that you make to the Lord, just say this: "I'm asking this for Jesus because it will bring glory to him." Did you get that? "I'm asking this for Jesus because it will bring glory to him." It's just that simple. Now I don't know about you, but that eliminates an awful lot of things that I'm prone to ask God for. You know, all those things that you want.
God, I want a new TV, because I'm asking for Jesus . oh, man. That doesn't make it. See, it gets your prayers up there where they belong and you begin to pray for the things that really matter. It's a wonderful promise.
And then I like this, what he says at the end of verse 14: "I will do it." Did you get that? That's so good. Jesus didn't say, All right, you guys, carry that out. He says, I will do it. You know who answers your prayers? Who? Jesus does. I will do it. He's operating in our behalf. Tremendous. So there you have it. The loving Jesus wanting his disciples to be comforted; gives them three great revelations: the revelation of his person, his power and his promise. What a comfort it is to know that he cares. And he cares in the same measure for you and for me and our prayer should be the prayer of those disciples. Not Lord, show me this and show me that, but just increase my faith to believe you for this kind of power and for this kind of prayer in order that I can see you really work in my life.
Father, we thank you this morning that these truths are in the word. Lord, how rich we are because of them.