Monday

02 May 2011

"Thomas said to him, 'Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?'" (v. 5)

Background

Jesus had already warned his disciples, "Little children, I am with you only a little longer" (John 13:33). It is hard to imagine their sorrow, distress even terror at the thought of being left without him.

The words of Jesus in this passage have been a source of comfort and encouragement to Christians in times of sorrow and distress throughout the centuries. He assures them that his separation from them is only temporary one and that he will return to each disciple at the moment of their death and take them to himself.

There is a new possibility here that while we are on the way we shall have a "place" (v. 3), not simply a destination of our journey but where we can be 'with the Lord' (1 Thessalonians 4:17). The question put by Thomas (v. 5) reveals how imperfectly they have understood what Jesus has said but the disciples' bewilderment gives Jesus the opportunity to tell them that he is the "the way" and adds that to come to God is to know truth and life (v. 6).

Now Philip asks a question... Long ago Moses had prayed, "Show me your glory" (Exodus 33:18) and he was granted a fleeting glimpse of that glory passing by. The promise that "the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together" (Isaiah 40:5) is a much loved verse of Scripture.

To have a vision of God is a deep longing for many seeking discipleship. In verse 8 Phillip impetuously says, "Lord, show us the Father and, we shall be satisfied" in response to Jesus saying about himself, "From now on you do know him and have seen him" (v. 7). Philip has not yet understood the wonder of it that the Father dwells in Jesus.

To Ponder

It is good to question Jesus about things, as the answers we come to enlighten our faith. What questions do you want to ask Jesus?

Do you have a vision of God? What is it?

Bible notes author: The Revd Steve Wild

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