by Tad Lindley
While I have not had television most of my adult life, I did growing up. Those of my generation might remember the old Scooby Doo cartoons. In those shows they would always have some sort of mystery. At the conclusion, often times they would catch the culprit and then pull a mask off of them, and it would be somebody who nobody suspected. They might have looked like a massive bodybuilder, but when they pulled the mask off it was an old man inside who had been switching in and out of costume. If you are from that generation, this is for you.
A couple thousand years ago there was a man named Philip. Philip was one of Jesus twelve Apostles. When their names are listed, his is always appears fifth (see Matt 10:3, Mark 3:18, and Luke 6:14). He is mentioned a number of times in the gospels, but it is in the gospel according to John that he had his Scooby Doo moment.
Three years with Jesus
Philip was one of the first people to recognize that Jesus was the Messiah (John 1:43). He witnessed to Nathanael who almost immediately became a follower of Jesus. These men spent three years of their lives with Jesus. They saw the thousands fed and Lazarus rise from the dead. They heard the great sermons, they saw all the signs. They were with Jesus when he sweat great drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. And as Philip dwelt in the presence of the Lord, there was one thing that he couldn’t figure out. It nagged at him. It was the great mystery.
The great mystery still unsolved
Finally in John 14:8, Philip could stand it no longer, and he spoke to Jesus about it. Philip said unto him, “Lord, show us the Father and it sufficeth us.” Let me modernize that for you, “Lord, show us who the Father is, and then we will finally be satisfied.” It’s a fair question. After all, at times Jesus seems to be speaking as if he is God, for instance when he spoke to the wind and the waves, “Peace, be still!” (Mark 4:39) Then at other times he seems to be speaking like a man, as when he prays.
Behind the mask
Jesus response to Philip is powerful and definitive. Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:9 NKJV) In other words, he was saying, “Philip, you’ve been with me for three years and you still haven’t figured it out? When you see me, you’re seeing the Father!” At that point, Philip understood that when Jesus said, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30), he wasn’t just saying that they were close, he was actually saying that they are the same.
How can God put on a mask?
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. (I Timothy 3:16) The Bible admits it a mystery, but goes on to explain it. God was manifest in the flesh. God put on a mask when his Spirit overshadowed Mary and she became pregnant. This is why he was referred to as Immanuel, which literally means God with us (Isaiah 7:14).
Solve it for yourself
Read I Timothy 3:16 again. 1. God was manifest in the flesh, 2. justified in the Spirit, 3. seen of angels, 4. preached unto the Gentiles, 5. believed on in the world, 6. received up into glory. That is six pieces of evidence in the great mystery of godliness. And it forewarns you, there is no controversy about the answer. The only place that those six evidences line up is in Jesus Christ. Some of you still don’t believe what the Bible is saying, because you learned at some point in the past that Jesus and the Father are different persons. Think about this then. When you stand before Jesus and you look around and don’t see the Father, ask him. (Write your name in the blank) Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me,________ ? He who has seen Me has seen the Father. Mystery solved.
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, AK.