8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” 9 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’?
Now Philip asks Jesus a question about the beatific vision of knowing the Father mentioned in the previous verse.
8 Philip said to Him,
The gospel of John is the only gospel that gives Philip a significant role.
“Lord, show us the Father,
Philip wanted to understand the promise that Jesus gave in the previous verse to “know” the Father. Now he asks for direct access to knowledge of the Father. The word “show” calls for a display or demonstration. He wanted a personal revelation of the Father’s presence.
and it is sufficient for us.”
Philip asked Jesus for firsthand knowledge about the Father. If Jesus would put the Father on special display, then the apostles could dispense with further questions. Philip failed to understand that Jesus had already revealed the Father by His person and works. His request for special revelation of the Father completely missed that point. This failure was an indication that he did not fully understand that Jesus was the revelation of the Father (Jn 1:1, 18).
9 Jesus said to him,
Jesus now shows Philip that He should have seen the glory of the Father in Jesus Himself (Jn 1:18). Even after His departure the apostles will continue to fellowship with the person who reveals the Father.
“Have I been with you [plural] so long,
Jesus’ replied to the apostles with a gentle rebuke. Jesus had long taught on the subject about what Philip asked but he and the others still had not grasped the idea.
and yet you [singular] have not known Me, Philip?
For Philip to ask Jesus to see the Father was a serious lack of understanding about Jesus as the Word who reveals the Father (Jn 1:1,18). It was a form of spiritual blindness.
He who has seen Me has seen the Father;
There is a unity of being between the Father and the Son (an ontological unity). The emphasis here is on the functional unity between them. God is revealed in Jesus’ words and miracles. Seeing Jesus and the Father was by faith in what Jesus had said. Jesus is the revelation of the Father (Jn 1:18).
Philip wanted to see the Father, but Jesus pointed to Himself if he wanted to understand what the Father was all about.
so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Jesus rebuked Philip with the words “how can you say.” As a member of the tight apostolic band, he should have known better than to ask for a special revelation of the Father. They had been with Jesus for three years but still they had not fully grasped the unity of the Father and Son. Here at the end of the ministry of Christ they were still groping for what Jesus had revealed to them throughout His public ministry. Philip’s request to “show us the Father” indicates a serious lack of understanding among them.
Christ is the final and ultimate revelation of the Father.
The ministry of incarnation of Christ, or His taking on a human body to communicate with mankind, is the perfect manifestation of who and what the Father is all about. Jesus’ life and works prove this. It is not possible that people can see the Father in a direct sense. However, we see the Father best in Jesus. His words are the words of the Father and His miracles the miracles of the Father.
Everyone who believes in Jesus is brought to God (Jn 10:38). Jesus is the image of the invisible God (Co 1:15). He is the final revelation of God (He 1:1-4).