Here are my responses to the four questions for engaging this text.
I observe Jesus claiming identity with the Father – God. “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” And even Philip who has walked with Jesus and lived with Jesus, who has seen Jesus’ healing and heard his teaching, even Philip doesn’t get it that Jesus is the living Son of God. If even Philip doesn’t “believe” how much harder for those of us who have never seen Jesus to really “believe.”
Jesus’ promise that, “the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do,” is both attractive and disturbing. I deeply desire to love and do acts of mercy and compassion such as Jesus did. And I believe that I believe Jesus is the Incarnation of Holy God. Still, I love conditionally, I am judgmental and much of the time my actions in the world are less than compassionate and merciful. I can only deduce from this that, like Philip, I still do not “believe.”
I wonder what would happen if I more consciously and conscientiously chose to open my heart and respond to the ordinary people and situations in my life with mercy and compassion? I wonder if that would strengthen my belief? I wonder if that might help me recognize Jesus as Incarnate God? Still, I know me, there is every chance that I think I desire to love and be compassionate as was Jesus but actually I will not follow through. It seems I cannot even sustain my desire.
O Lord, give me the grace to desire to know you and make my belief strong so that my actions in the world will continue Your works of mercy and compassion. In the name of Jesus the Christ I pray. Amen