Seeing the Son, Seeing the Father
“Jesus cried out and said, ‘Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.’ ”- John 12:44–46
By noting that many of the first-century religious authorities in Judea “believed” in Jesus but did not declare their faith publicly, John’s gospel warns us that it is not enough to believe in Jesus in secret (John 12:42–43). True saving faith entails a public commitment to Jesus as well; that is, if we have actually received Christ and rested on Him for salvation, we will confess Him before others. And if we acknowledge Christ as Lord before others, we can be sure that He will acknowledge us as His own before His Father (Matt. 10:32–33).
What benefits do those who exercise true faith in Jesus receive? Our Savior gives us the answer in the concluding verses of John 12. Today we will look at verses 44–46, which reveal to us that those who trust in Jesus believe in God, see God, and escape from darkness. First, verse 44 indicates that if we truly believe in Jesus then we truly believe in God. In fact, to believe in Jesus is really to believe in the One who sent Him, namely, God the Father. This is a striking claim. Jesus is so closely associated with the Father that when we trust Him, we are actually trusting the Father. This indicates to us that Jesus is more than a mere man, that He is very God of very God. As Jesus has said elsewhere, the Son of God—Jesus—does nothing of His own accord but only what He sees His Father doing (5:19). He comes to earth and proclaims Himself as the only way of salvation (14:6) because the Father has sent Him and has appointed Him as the only avenue through which we can be reconciled to God. If to believe in Jesus is to believe in God, then to believe in the Son is to turn from our rejection of our Creator’s will and to embrace the Father in a saving relationship.
Second, Jesus says that to believe in Him is to see God. Seeing Christ and believing Christ are the same thing, for when Jesus speaks of seeing Him, He is paralleling sight with faith (12:44–45). If we have believed in Jesus, we have seen Jesus—we have recognized Him for who He truly is. And if we have seen Jesus, we have seen the One who sent Him, God Himself. We are not left to ourselves to figure out what God is like, for He has revealed Himself in Christ Jesus. Knowing God is not a guessing game. We do not sit around saying, “To me, God is like. . . .” We need only to look to Jesus, for He reveals the Father to us.
Third, to believe in Jesus is to escape the darkness (v. 46). Jesus came into the world as the light of the world. As the light of the world, He illumines who God really is for us, and He shows us the gravity of sin that we might run to Him for cleansing and forgiveness.
Jesus is not merely “one way” to God or one option among many to whom we can look to figure out what God is like. No, to see Him is to see God, and the only way to see God is to believe in Him. We must be insistent that the only way to see and to know God is to believe in Jesus alone for salvation.
Passages for Further Study
John 1:18; 14:8–11; 17:3