Vs. 17-19 “…but you know him…you will see me…”
Here, Jesus promises the praying person will know and see Someone no one other than believers is able to know and see. Sounds interesting. Maybe even a little Sci-Fi. He says we will know the Holy Spirit, and we will see Jesus Himself.
For centuries philosophers have bemoaned, debated, discussed and complained about something called the ‘hiddenness of God”. They view it this way: If God is completely good, loving, powerful, all-knowing and ever-present, He would want the best for people, His creatures. Relationship with Him would be the best thing for them; an awareness of Him is essential in order to have relationship with Him, but His hiddenness limits that awareness. Some, in frustration, have even declared God must not exist since His presence cannot be verified by empirical data. They cannot see, hear, taste, smell or touch Him.
Jesus confirms they have a problem. He observes, “The world cannot accept him (the Holy Spirit), because it neither sees him nor knows him.”
I don’t presume to have the answer to age-old deep philosophical questions. But Jesus is making a promise in this segment of Scripture that seems relevant to the discussion. He is explaining the connection between sensing God and having a relationship with Him. The ‘world’ (those that are not His followers) wants sensation first; it wants evidence, empirical data, proof that He exists. Then, it will submit to relationship. Jesus says ‘you’ (followers of Him) are different: you submit to relationship first (now that’s faith!), and then you find confirmation in your spirit that HE IS; you come to know Him and see Him with the spiritual vision He supplies you.
It’s like character. No one sees character. We see the effects of character, and then surmise the existence of the core value. For instance, think of endurance. That’s a character trait. When I look at someone, I can’t actually see endurance; it’s not like a nose, or a knee, or a skin tone. As I observe that person for a bit, though, I begin to develop a picture in my mind of something much deeper than skin. Perhaps I see that person going on regular early morning runs. I begin to think she has set a goal for herself and is trying hard to attain it. After several weeks or months, if she keeps at it, I begin to see she is quite dedicated. It’s not until she completes the marathon for which she’s been training, though, that I am finally able to observe in her the trait of endurance. (Perhaps she sees the same perseverance in me for all the months of watching!)
Jesus promises something similar. Those of us who have submitted to God, who have accepted the atonement for our sinfulness provided by Jesus’ redeeming death and resurrection, have moved into relationship with God. We have become His people. As we begin to live each day with this relationship in mind, seeking to please Him in every way, His Spirit reveals Himself to our spirits in a deeper-than-skin way. We know Him and see Him through our spiritual vision.
He’s right, isn’t He? If you love Him, you know what I mean. If you haven’t chosen yet to love Him, what’s stopping you?
God of the universe,
Good and all-powerful,
All-knowing all-present One,
You give me that for which
my deepest spirit longs:
You show me your very Self.
Just who am I that You willingly give
Such a great gift, this knowledge of You.
What of Your hiddenness?
Thus is my spirit
Unseen, with Your presence, at home.