Friday, October 19, 2018

The Vision (10.19.18): The Patient Ministry of Christ to His Disciples

Image: Fall berries, North Garden, Virginia, October 2018

Note: Devotion adapted from last Sunday's sermon on John 14:8-14.

The Gospel of John is unique in numerous ways. Many believe it was the last Gospel written and that John the Apostle assumed that his readers were already familiar with the accounts of the Lord Jesus in the other Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. He was led by the Holy Spirit, therefore, to record things not recorded elsewhere.

One of the unique things that John records is the conversations which our Lord had with his disciples in the Upper Room before his arrest, trial, and crucifixion.

Of late in our sermon series through John, we have been looking at the sequence of four conversations which the Lord Jesus had with his followers in response to their questions and requests: Peter (13:36—14:4); Thomas (14:5-7); Philip (14:8-21); and Judas (not Iscariot) (14:22—16:16).

What is striking is the fact that these men had been with Jesus. They had been ear and eye witnesses to his ministry. They had heard his words and seen his signs (miracles). Their questions, however, show that even at this point, they still did not fully understand our Lord. So Thomas asks, “and how can we know the way?” (14:5), and Philip asks, “Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us [it will be enough for us]” (14:8).

When Calvin reflects on Thomas’ question he observes that “the knowledge possessed by the saints is sometimes confused.”

On Philip’s request that Christ show them the Father, Calvin comments:

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 them. We profess to be earnest in seeking God; but when he presents himself before our eyes, we are blind.

These questions provide yet another example of discipleship. It shows how that followers of Christ can be “sometimes confused,” but also how that Christ continues patiently to teach and to reveal himself more fully to us.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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