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John 14:8-14

8. Philip saith to him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9. Jesus saith to him, Have I been so long time with you, and hast thou not known me, Philip? He who hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou, Show us the Father? 10. Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words which I speak to you I speak not from myself; but my Father who dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. 11. Believe me, that I am in the Father, and the Father in me; but if not, believe me on account of the works themselves. 12. Verily, verily, I tell you, He who believeth in me shall himself also do the works which I do, and shall do greater works than these, because I go to my Father. 13. And whatever you ask in my name, that I will do, that the Father may be, glorified in the Son. 14. If you shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.


8. Show us the Father. It appears to be very absurd that the Apostles should offer so many objections to the Lord; for why did he speak but to inform them on that point about which Philip puts the question? Yet there is not one of their faults that is here described that may not be charged on us as well as on them. We profess to be earnest in seeking God; and when he presents himself before our eyes, we are blind.

9. Have I been so long time with you? Christ justly reproves Philip for not having the eyes of his faith pure. He had God present in Christ, and yet he did not behold him. What prevented him but his own ingratitude? Thus, in the present day, they who, in consequence of not being satisfied with Christ alone, are hurried into foolish speculations, in order to seek God in them, make little progress in the Gospel. This foolish desire springs from the meanness of Christ’s low condition; and this is very unreasonable, for by that humiliation he exhibits the infinite goodness of God.

10. That I am in the Father, and the Father in me. I do not consider these words to refer to Christ’s Divine essence, but to the manner of the revelation; for Christ, so far as regards his hidden Divinity, is not better known to us than the Father. But he is said to be the lively Image, or Portrait, of God, 6565     “La vive Image, ou Pourtraict, de Dieu.” because in him God has fully revealed himself, so far as God’s infinite goodness, wisdom, and power, are clearly manifested in him. And yet the ancient writers do not take an erroneous view of this passage, when they quote it as a proof for defending Christ’s Divinity; but as Christ does not simply inquire what he is in himself, but what we ought to acknowledge him to be, this description applies to his power rather than to his essence. The Father, therefore, is said to be in Christ, because full Divinity dwells in him, and displays its power; and Christ, on the other hand, is said to be in the Father, because by his Divine power he shows that he is one with the Father

The words which I speak to you. He proves from the effect that we ought not to seek God anywhere else than in him; for he maintains that his doctrine, being heavenly and truly Divine, is a proof and bright mirror of the presence of God. If it be objected, that all the Prophets ought to be accounted sons of God, because they speak divinely from the inspiration of the Spirit, and because God was the Author of their doctrine, the answer is easy. We ought to consider what their doctrine contains; for the Prophets send their disciples to another person, but Christ attaches them to himself. Besides, we ought to remember what the apostle declares, that now God speaketh from heaven (Hebrews 12:25) by the mouth of his Son, and that, when he spoke by Moses, he spoke, as it were, from the earth.

I do not speak, from myself; that is, as a man only, or after the manner of men; because the Father, exhibiting the power of his Spirit in Christ’s doctrine, wishes his Divinity to be recognized in him.

This must not be confined to miracles; for it is rather a continuation of the former statement, that the majesty of God is clearly exhibited in Christ’s doctrine; as if he had said, that his doctrine is truly a work of God, from which it may be known with certainty that God dwelleth in him. By the works, therefore, I understand a proof of the power of God.

Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me. He first demands from the disciples to give credit to his testimony, when he asserts that he is the Son of God; but as they had hitherto been too lazy, he indirectly reproves their indolence. “If my assertion,” says he, “does not produce conviction, and if you have so mean an opinion of me, that you do not think that you ought to believe my words, consider, at least, that power which is a visible image of the presence of God.” It is very absurd in them, indeed, not to believe, entirely, the words which proceed from the mouth of the Lord Jesus, 6666     “De ne croire point entierement aux paroles qui procedent de la bouche du Seigneur Jesus.” since they ought to have embraced, without any hesitation, every thing that he expressed, even by a single word. But here Christ reproves his disciples for having made so little progress, though they had received so many admonitions on the same subject. He does not explain what is the nature of faith, but declares that he has what is even sufficient for convicting unbelievers.

The repetition of the words, I am in the Father, and the Father in me, is not superfluous; for we know too well, by experience, how our nature prompts us to foolish curiosity. As soon as we have gone out of Christ, we shall have nothing else than the idols which we have formed, but in Christ, there is nothing but what is divine, and what keeps us in God

12. Verily, verily, I, tell you. All that he had hitherto told his disciples about himself, so far as it regarded them, was temporal; and, therefore, if he had not added this clause, the consolation would not have been complete; particularly since our memory is so short, when we are called to consider the gifts of God. On this subject it is unnecessary to go to others for examples; for, when God has loaded us with every kind of blessings, if He pause for fourteen days, we fancy that he is no longer alive. This is the reason why Christ not only mentions his present power, which the Apostles, at that time, beheld with their eyes, but promises an uninterrupted conviction of it for the future. And, indeed, not only was his Divinity attested, so long as he dwelt on the earth, but after he had gone to the Father, striking proofs of it were enjoyed by believers. But either our stupidity or our malice hinders us from perceiving God in his works, and Christ in the works of God.

And shall do greater works than these. Many are perplexed by the statement of Christ, that the Apostles would do greater works than he had done I pass by the other answers which have been usually given to it, and satisfy myself with this single answer. First, we must understand what Christ means; namely, that the power by which he proves himself to be the Son of God, is so far from being confined to his bodily presence, that it must be clearly demonstrated by many and striking proofs, when he is absent. Now the ascension of Christ was soon afterwards followed by a wonderful conversion of the world, in which the Divinity of Christ was more powerfully displayed than while he dwelt among men. Thus, we see that the proof of his Divinity was not confined to the person of Christ, but was diffused through the whole body of the Church.

Because I go to the Father. This is the reason why the disciples would do greater things than Christ himself. It is because, when he has entered into the possession of his kingdom, he will more fully demonstrate his power from heaven. Hence it is evident that his glory is in no degree diminished, because, after his departure, the Apostles, who were only his instruments, performed more excellent works. What is more, in this manner it became evident that he sitteth at the right hand of the Father, that every knee may bow before him, (Philippians 2:10.)

13. And whatever you ask in my name, that I will do. By these words He plainly declares that he will be the Author of all that shall be done by the hands of the Apostles. But it may be asked, was he not even then the Mediator in whose name men ought to pray to the Father? I reply, he plainly discharged the office of Mediator, ever since he entered into the heavenly sanctuary; as we shall afterwards repeat at the proper place.

That the Father may be glorified in the Son. This passage agrees with what Paul says,

That every tongue may confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father, (Philippians 2:11.)

The end of all things is the sanctification of the name of God; but here the true method of sanctifying it is declared; that is, in the Son, and by the Son. For, though the majesty of God be in itself hidden from us, it shines in Christ; though his hand be concealed, we have it visible in Christ. Consequently, in the benefits which the Father bestows upon us, we have no right to separate the Father from the Son, according to that saying,

He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father,
(John 6:23.)

14. If you shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. This is not a useless repetition. All see and feel that they are unworthy to approach God; and yet the greater part of men burst forward, as if they were out of their senses, and rashly and haughtily address God; and afterwards, when that unworthiness, of which I have spoken, comes to their recollection, every man contrives for himself various expedients. On the other hand, when God invites us to himself, he holds out to us one Mediator only, by whom he is willing to be appeased and reconciled. But here again the wickedness of the human mind breaks out for the greater part do not cease to forsake the road, and to pass through many windings. The reason why they do so is, that they have but a poor and slender perception of the power and goodness of God in Christ. To this is added a second error, that we do not consider that we are justly excluded from approaching God, until he calls us, and that we are called only through the Son. And if one passage has not sufficient weight with us, let us know that, when Christ repeats, a second time, that we must pray to the Father in his name, he lays his hand on us, as it were, that we may not lose our pains by fruitlessly seeking other intercessors.

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