John 14:8-17 [25-27]
The Day of Pentecost
Analysis by Peter Keyel
8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. 12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
[25 “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”]
DIAGNOSIS: On Our Own
Step 1: Initial Diagnosis (External Problem): Anxious to See the Father
Philip is anxious. He knows that Jesus will not be with them much longer, and he knows there is too much work left to be done. He wants one thing to sustain him for the work ahead: to see God conclusively and decisively. Maybe in the way Moses was shown, maybe some other way, but Philip wants to see the God for whom he is working.
Step 2: Advanced Diagnosis (Internal Problem): Troubled Hearts
Jesus recognizes the source of Philip’s anxiety: he is afraid, and his heart is troubled. In his fear and trouble, Philip is staring right over Jesus’ shoulder looking for the Father. His expectations for God the Father do not fit what he sees in Jesus, friend of sinners. He fails to see God the Father acting in Jesus.
Step 3: Final Diagnosis (Eternal Problem): Unbelief
Jesus calls out the root of Philip’s problem: unbelief. After all that Philip has seen with his own eyes, in this place of fear and trouble, he still does not trust that Jesus is the God who will see him through death itself. What hope is there for one who sees and does not believe, let alone those who have not seen?
PROGNOSIS: An Advocate with Us Forever
Philip can’t overcome his unbelief, but Jesus can. Jesus does not condemn. Instead, he gently reminds Philip that he does not give as the world gives. And in his death and resurrection Jesus shows Philip the depth of the promise the Father has made in Jesus—by glorifying the Father in Jesus’ cross and his rising. Because Jesus was willing to lay down his life, Philip could be assured that, in Jesus, Philip was seeing the Father.
Step 5: Advanced Prognosis (Internal Solution): Peace
To relieve Philip’s anxiety and fear, Jesus gives Philip his peace. Specifically, this peace comes in the form of an Advocate, the Holy Spirit. The Spirit gives faith and is received in faith—abiding in and with us. This Advocate enables us to love Jesus and brings peace to our troubled hearts. Through the Advocate’s work, Philip and we can believe: “If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”
Step 6: Final Prognosis (External Solution): Excited to Show the Trinity
We are in good hands with the Advocate whom Jesus sent to us. Even in a world that has a hard time receiving the Spirit, we no longer feel anxious. Instead of anxiety, we are excited to make the Advocate known to others by showing and telling them what Jesus has done. And with the help of the Advocate, we will even trust Jesus (despite our self-doubt) when he says that our works will be greater than his.