May 1, 2017–Feast of St. Philip and St. James–John 14:6-14

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Jesus said, “If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Then Philip said to Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”

And Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me?”

Translation: “How could you say that? I just told you! If you know me, then you know the father. Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?”

We’ve all been let down by stupid comments and questions before. It’s nothing new to us.

“I seriously just explained this to you.”

“We just went over this.”

“It’s on. The. Syllabus.”

We’ve all been there—on both sides of it. That feeling when you raise your hand in class, you ask your question and the see the side glances and smirks.

“Um…Dr. Brosend, did we just talk about this?”

Uh, yeah, Warren. We did.”


It’s a sinking, embarrassing feeling when we realize that we’ve missed something that we’re expected to know.

“Show you the father and you’ll be satisfied, huh? Have I been with you all this time, and you still don’t know me… I’ve been trying to tell you that all along!”


“Don’t you remember that day on the lawn, Philip? I asked you where we were going to buy enough bread for all those people.” Ask James—I think he was there, too. You said, “It doesn’t matter, six months’ wages couldn’t even buy enough bread for all these folks. Do you remember that? Lucky for us that boy had packed a lunch. And do you remember when we left that day? The crowd was satisfied. Do you remember what I did?”

“Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you don’t, then believe me because of the works themselves. Believe me because of what you’ve seen. Believe me because of what you know to be true.”

We can’t explain all of God’s works, least of all this miracle, but Philip helps us get to the point of it. It’s not entirely clear how Jesus would multiply two loaves and two fish, but what is clear is this: seeing God doesn’t have anything to do with your line of sight. No visual experience is going to get you to that place. No, it’s about a much larger truth.

It’s about our journey with Philip to recognize that we already know God through our relationship with Jesus. It’s about taking stock of how Jesus has been working in our lives.

“Lord, show us the father and we will be satisfied.”

No, don’t you get it?

We already have Jesus. We already know Jesus. To know Jesus is to know God.

And that satisfies us greatly.

Help My Unbelief!

February 20, 2017 – Mark 9:14-29 

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Take a trip with me back to Mark chapter six. Jesus called the disciples, “and began to send them out two by two and he give them authority over unclean spirits.”

Their confusion is understandable, then, when in chapter nine they ask, “Why could we not cast it out?” It says right there that he gave the Twelve authority over demons.

So why didn’t it work with this boy?

Jesus’s answer is revealing: “This kind can only come out through prayer.”

“Teacher,” the boy’s father calls, “I brought you my son; he has a spirit that makes him unable to speak; and whenever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, but they could not do so.”

Again, Jesus’ response is revealing. “You faithless generation, how much longer must I be among you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.”

“You faithless generation!”

We don’t know how exactly he said it. We don’t have any “non-verbal” clues. It can be tempting to manufacture our own, but forget any imagined tone of voice—just look at the words.

“How much longer much I put up with you?”

“This kind can only come out through prayer.”

The disciples and the scribes had been arguing, but their arguments only point toward themselves, a natural response when we feel like we’ve got something to prove.

While attempting to defend their own efforts, they forgot that it’s really about prayer.

“If you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us,” the father cries.

He’s in an impossible situation. He’s come to a group of supposedly-certified healers and they’ve not been able to do anything for his son.

His faith it’s at the breaking point. “If you can do anything, Jesus, please just do it!”

That “if” language doesn’t exactly exemplify the unblemished faith that we all strive for, but nevertheless it is the reality of our own days and nights.

Every day we stare into the faces of faithless people, and we too lose faith. In an effort to reclaim that faith we often look to ourselves. Sometimes we are as sure as we can be that we will be saved by our own efforts, that we have all the prayers, all the faith—ALL it takes.

It’s not about winning an argument in order to *prove* that we have the ability. It’s not about us.

It’s about prayer, and faith, and God.

Jesus tells each of us: you have the power to be self-aware enough to recognize that it’s not about you.

He reminds us that we still need God.

He reminds us not of the basic truth that God can do anything through us, but rather he calls to mind the complex realization that we cannot do anything without God.

We depend on a God who wants what is best for us.

Do you hear it?

Our participation in God’s glory is not limited to our inwardly-focused testimony, “I believe.”

Rather it is more fully realized in the courage of our humble refrain: O God, “Help my unbelief!”