You will need an opaque jug or bottle containing squash (Kool-Aid, for our US readers) and a glass of water.
Show the jug.
We can’t tell what is in the jug. We can’t see it. We can get a few clues from the fact that it sloshes and feel heavy. So we know it’s liquid and about how much there is. But we can’t tell the real nature of what is in here. It’s a bit like that with God. We can tell somethings about God from how he created the world how he has created us. We have a sense of right and wrong. We see beauty and reason. But it’s hard to know exactly what God is like just from this. We need help to know God.
Bring out the glass of water.
Jesus was a man just like we are. We know about a glass of water. We can understand it. We can understand Jesus. But Jesus was more than just a man. Jesus was also God. Not half-God, half-man. But fully God and fully man, all in one!
Pour some squash into the water.
So what was in the jug? We can tell that the jug contains blackcurrant squash because we can see it now and understand. We can smell it, see it, taste it and we recognise it. Jesus shows us what God is like. Jesus is God, but in a way that is easier to understand.
But Jesus is not here today. He lived 2000 years ago in a different country. So how are we supposed to know what God is like if we cannot see Jesus?
Jesus said that the Holy Spirit, who is Jesus in another form, God in another form, would live with us and be in us.
Drink the squash in three sips.
God the Father (sip) God the Son (sip) God the Holy Spirit (sip)
“Lord, show us the Father.”
I love the disciples. They are so like me. So dim sometimes.
Jesus tells them stuff and they don’t get it. Jesus explains and they don’t get it again. Jesus spells it out word by word and they still don’t get it. It’s good to know that I’m a twit in good company.
On the face of it, it sounded like a good request. “Lord, show us the Father.” Good thing to ask, right?
But I can see Jesus doing a face-palm. “Oh good grief. Have you not got it yet? How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you know me, Philip?” Jesus is saying ‘if you know me, you know the Father’ and later ‘you know the Spirit’, too.
This is one of the longer trinity texts, where the concept of three-yet-one is heard. There is a lot of picture language, to help John’s readers grasp the confusing concept. When Jesus said ‘Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.’ He was making a picture. He did not mean physical seeing. He did not mean that God has darkish skin, brown eyes and a lot of hard skin on his feet. I think he meant seeing more like it’s used in the film ‘Avatar’. There, the local people say ‘I see you’ to mean seeing the person inside the body.
So Jesus meant more like ‘Anyone who has seen what is at the core of me has seen the Father.’ ‘Anyone who has seen what I do has seen what the Father does.’ ‘Anyone who has seen the world how I see it has seen how the Father sees it.’
And then he talked about the Advocate – the one who would stand beside them, within them, before them. He would remind them, teach them, encourage them, comfort them, guide them and console them. Another advocate, to replace the first advocate, Jesus himself. From God and of God. Another expression of God, another facet of God, another aspect of God, another person of God.
So we have three. And yet we have one.
Sit quietly and hear the words of Jesus. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Lord Father, Lord Son, Lord Spirit,
May we, as your visible body on earth,
reflect your unity and diversity
In the power of you, Lord Spirit,
through the merits of you, Lord Son
to the glory of you, Lord Father
John 14:8-17 New International Version
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
[“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.]
New International Version (NIV)
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