They looked down at the faded photograph, then up at me, then over at my father, then back at me, then back at my father. Their eyes were as wide as the proverbial saucers. “Dad, you look just like Papa when he was young!” My father and I grinned because this was something we’d known for a long time, but it wasn’t until recently that my children came to the same realization. While my father and I are different people, in a very real sense to see me is to see my father as a younger man: tall, lanky frame; full head of dark hair; prominent nose; and rather large ears. No, I am not my father, but I am most definitely my father’s son.
A follower of Jesus named Philip once asked, “Lord
In that moment Jesus was being straightforward with His beloved disciples and us: If you want to know what God is like, look at Me.
Philip, recruited by Jesus Himself (John 1:43), was one of the very first disciples. In the Synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke—Philip is always paired with Bartholomew (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14). In John’s gospel, however, Bartholomew isn’t mentioned and Nathanael (who isn’t mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels) is listed instead. Many scholars believe that Bartholomew is probably the same person as Nathanael, whom Philip recruited (John 1:45–48).
In John 14:8–14, when the disciples are gathered in the upper room, Philip responds to a question from Thomas asked in verse 5. The fact that Philip asks Jesus to show them the Father indicates that, although one of the first disciples, Philip hadn’t really understood the heart and mission of Jesus—to make visible the unseen God (see 1:18). No wonder Jesus gave Philip a gentle rebuke for his misguided request; it had already been fulfilled during their many months together.