Almost immediately when I wrote the title, I thought of the great book by Josh McDowell: Evidence that Demands a Verdict. That’s what is basically happening in this extended conversation between Jesus and his disciples in the fourteen chapter of John. Pre-Holy Spirit, Simon, Thomas and now Philip were all having trouble understanding and believing.
Philip had just confessed that if Jesus would just show them the Father, that would be enough, when Jesus basically let him have it:
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.*
Again, they’d been with Jesus for three years. They’d heard him speak in ways and with authority no one had ever spoken, and they’d seen miracles by the number. What more would it take?
This encounter drove me back to an earlier one recorded in the same book, from the earliest of days in his ministry. With a few of his early followers, Jesus had gone to a wedding and now was clearing the Temple of those buying and selling animals. He prophesied of the ultimate sign that would reveal his authority to all.
John tells us these miracles led many to believe in his name, “but Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men.”*
Those who believed just on the miracles alone, would have a shallow faith that would not last. We know this, because many of these who followed him as a miracle worker would later cry out for his crucifixion.
Over the course of three years, however, his close disciples had so much more than just the miracles. They had the Word of God. This is why Jesus is so indignant at Philip’s request to see the Father, for he tells him that every word he spoke was not his own, but that of the Father, living in him.
Yet, he pushes Philip to at least have the faith that those from the crowd had: “At least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.”
What does it take for us to believe Jesus is the Christ? What will it take for you to believe that he is one with the Father?
Will you believe his words? His miracles? What more evidence do you need?
If you’re reading this, and you’re already a follower of Christ, don’t ignore the questions. Sometimes, especially in hard times, we too forget who we’ve been following. We doubt his plan. We doubt his presence. We doubt God sees and hears.
Jesus asks us today as well: Don’t you believe? What more evidence do you need?
He who was with us yesterday is with us today and for eternity. May our faith rest confidently in the evidence he’s richly provided. It is more than enough for a clear verdict.
Grace and Peace
John 14:9-11 (NIV)