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Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 37 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 8: Seeing the Invisible *
Introduction: Have you ever said, "Those characters in the Old
Testament had a real advantage over me because God spoke directly to
them." Do you sometimes feel that your faith could use a real boost
by having God speak to you directly? Would you like some tangible
proof of God's presence? How about actually seeing God? The "faith
chapter" of Hebrews (Hebrews 11) starts out "Now faith is being sure
of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." True faith,
it turns out, is built on a lack of visible proof. Is there a way to
see the invisible? Let's dive into our study to learn more about
"Seeing the Invisible!"
- How to See the Father
- Read John 14:1. Jesus is speaking to His disciples at the
"Last Supper." Why should they be troubled? (In the prior
chapter, John 13, Jesus told them that He would be
betrayed by one of them and that He was leaving for a
place where they could not follow (at least not right
now). John 13:21,33.)
- Read John 14:1-3. What is the cure for the disciples'
fear? (Trusting Jesus. He will come and take them to the
home of His Father so they will all be together.)
- Read John 14:4-5. Thomas is concerned about getting
confused over the directions and getting left behind. Why
should he be concerned? Didn't Jesus say ( John 14:3)that
He would "come back and take you to be with Me?" (Jesus
also said that they "knew the way" and Thomas is not going
to be quiet about his ignorance on this important point.)
- Read John 14:6-7. Is this an answer to Thomas' question?
- Jesus said that He was going to His Father's house.
Thomas responds "We don't have that address - we need
it to be sure we get there." Does Jesus give His
Father's address? (Yes. In John 14:6 Jesus says the
only way to the Father is "through Me." Jesus teaches
them that if they know Jesus, they know the Father.
The "way" to the Father's house, the way to know the
Father, is to know Jesus.)
- What do you think of Jesus' answer? Thomas is
asking for a physical address: "At the 29th palm
tree, turn left and proceed to the watering
hole. The house will be on the left." Is Jesus
giving Thomas that kind of answer? (We begin to
understand "seeing the invisible." Jesus is
physical (they can see Him), and His Father has
a physical location (heaven), but physically
getting there is not like turning left at the
- Read John 14:8. Philip joins Thomas in this questioning.
He wants to see the Father. But, he thinks he has a
lesser request: "You don't need to give me the Father's
actual address (unlike Thomas), just let me meet Him and
that will be enough." Is Philip asking for less?
- Read John 14:9-11. Has Philip seen the Father?
- Is Jesus annoyed with Philip's question?
- Going back to "seeing the invisible," is Jesus
showing them "the invisible?" (Jesus says that if
they "know" Jesus, seeing Jesus equals seeing the
Father. Seeing Jesus is the same as seeing the
- How does that work? Jesus refers to the Father
as being separate, but says seeing one is the
same as seeing all. How would you explain this?
(Read John 14:10-11 again. Jesus is not talking
about an image, He is talking about something
greater than that. God had made Himself known in
Jesus. God revealed Himself in Jesus.)
- How much does a mere image tell you about
someone? Show me a picture of your girlfriend,
your boyfriend, your husband, your wife, your
children. How much does that reveal?
- What if you lived with someone who wore a
mask for two months? What if they wore a
bag over their head and gloves so their
whole body was covered? How much would
you know after living with that masked
- Do you see what Jesus means when He says,
"If you have seen Me you have seen the
- Obtaining the Brushes and Paint for the Picture
- Read John 14:12-14. Jesus tells us that the two of them
(Father and Jesus) are one. Thus, Philip has seen the
Father and Thomas knows how to find the Father. Why does
Jesus point (v. 11) to miracles as evidence of His
connection? (Because only God could do them.)
- In this context Jesus says "I will do whatever you
ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to
the Father." When Jesus says "whatever you ask" does
He mean "just anything?" Want a new Mercedes? Just
ask! (The whole theme of this series of conversations
is the relationship between Jesus and the Father. The
theme is "seeing God." That makes me think "anything"
means "anything" that promotes the human
understanding of God. Anything that promotes trust
in God. Indeed, that sentence continues "so the Son
may bring glory to the Father.")
- Read John 14:15. I thought Jesus just got through saying
that we could "command" Him - just ask, and our wishes are
His commands. Why is He now talking about us obeying His
commands? (This is further proof of my theory: Jesus is
not saying "I'll give you anything." He is saying that if
we are working together with Him to promote the Kingdom of
God, that He will give us whatever we ask to promote that
- Painting a Picture of God
- Read John 14:16-17. What kind of relationship are we to
have with the Holy Spirit?
- Is it the same relationship that Jesus has with the
Father? (Jesus puts it in much the same terms.
Compare John 14:10-11.)
- Why does the "world" not accept the Holy Spirit?
(Because it neither sees Him or knows Him.)
- Isn't this the very problem we have been
discussing - seeing God? Having faith in the
- What is the solution for the world's inability
to see the Holy Spirit? (Notice the parallel!
Jesus tells His disciples that they have seen
the Father and they know the Father by seeing
and knowing Jesus. "I am in the Father and the
Father is in me." ( John 14:11) Jesus then says
that we can have the same relationship with the
Holy Spirit ("He lives in you and will be in
you." John 14:17.) The purpose for this is so
the world can see God. They see the invisible
- Read John 14:18-21. What kind of relationship can we have
with Jesus? (He says the same thing about our relationship
with Him: "you are in me, and I am in you.")
- Why is this discussion about our relationship with
the Trinity and our role in making visible the
invisible interwoven with these references to having
and obeying God's commands? (Christians who are saved
by grace and who (therefore) believe they have no
obligation to obey the law are really missing the
message! The "world" sees God through you. How could
the world possibly get a clear picture if you pay no
attention to God's rules for living? The world will
see something alright, it just won't be the invisible
- Read John 14:22. Good question! Why is it that God
depends on us to give the world a picture of God? (Read
John 14:23-24. We are obviously the "advance agent"
working with the Holy Spirit to bring the world a picture
of God. God will reveal Himself to all who come to Him.)
- Help With the Portrait
- Is the thought of your role in promoting the Kingdom of
God overwhelming? Is it beyond your ability? Read Isaiah
41:13. What offer does God make to us?
- Read 1 Peter 5:7. What cure does God offer for our
- Friend, just as Jesus revealed His Father, so we are to
reveal the Trinity. This is not a work we have to do in
our own strength. Jesus provides the Holy Spirit and He
offers to hold our hand. The question is, will you
undertake the task? Will you study God and His commands
so that you can portray an honest picture of God?
- Next week: A Life of Praise
* Copr. 2007, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.