Theme: Knowing God
In these lessons we look at some of the final instructions Jesus passed on to his disciples, and see how they are also given to us for living godly lives even in the midst of difficulty.
Scripture: John 14
In verse 9 Jesus talks about knowing God. He says, “You really can know God, and the way you know God is by knowing me.” It comes out of a question Philip asked. Philip had said, “Lord, show us the father and that will be enough for us” (v. 8). When Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through me,” I think Philip got the message of Jesus’ departure. Philip thought, “The Father is in heaven; Jesus is going to heaven; he is going home.” So he said, “Lord, I get what you are saying. You are leaving us. But we have come such a small way in our experience of spiritual things. Before you go there is one thing we really want: we want to see God. That is what we want to see.”
What is Jesus’ answer? He replies, “I have been on earth for a long time. I have been with you for three years. I have taught you and am about to go and you still haven’t got it. Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. So why do you say, ‘Lord show us the Father’?”
In knowing Jesus Christ we really do know God. God is not a mystery. God is not that supreme being who stands so far behind creation that we cannot even begin to know what He thinks, what He wants, or who He is. God has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ. What is God like? He is like Jesus. How do we see Jesus? We see Jesus in the Scriptures.
Several days after this discourse the Lord was walking along a road with the Emmaus disciples. They had left Jerusalem and were on their way home after the crucifixion and resurrection. They had heard about the resurrection, but they had not believed it. After all, they were modern people. Dead men do not rise. It did not make any difference what the women said, and Peter and John did not count either. You could hardly believe them. It was all over. Yet Jesus began to talk to them along the way. It is interesting to observe what He did. If we were writing this as a fictional story, we would have said something like this: “What’s got you so down?”
They would answer, “Well, our good friend Jesus was crucified.”
“Don’t you remember what he said about the resurrection? He said he was going to rise from the dead.”
“Yes, we heard that. But we do not believe it.”
Then what would Christ do? He would say, “Hey, you guys! Look! It’s me!”
They would say, “Jesus, is that really you?”
“Yes. It’s me.” Then He would give them some proof. “Ask me some questions,” He might say. “Ask me what we said when we were sitting under that tree by the Lake of Galilee.” By telling what only He would know, He would convince them that He really was Jesus.
That is not what Jesus did. Instead, He went to the Old Testament, and, as we are told, “Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). There is a kind of sequence there. We know Jesus through the Scriptures, and we know God through knowing Jesus. And that knowledge is a real knowledge. Regardless of what transpires in our world, regardless of what kind of conflicting claims we may hear, those who know Jesus really do know God.
How can anyone know God? What is involved in a genuine knowledge of him?
How did Jesus address the doubts of the Emmaus disciples?
Reflection: How do unbelievers tend to think God is known? How would you answer someone with these opinions?