Do you really know what someone is like? It’s actually quite a hard question to answer in our modern times. We can think that we know what someone is like but when we meet them, we find we are completely wrong. We may have come to our understanding based on what others say about them or what we have read about them rather than our personal experiences with them. Thanks to social media we can create an alternative version of ourselves that is removed from who we really are. If all we share with the world are our shopping trips, meals out and holidays then we can create the impression that we live a carefree life. Our true life may however be something very different.
In our reading today Jesus is explaining to His disciples that He is going to be leaving them but that they should not worry. One of the disciples asks if Jesus can show them God to allay their concerns. Jesus replies that they’ve already seen God because they’ve seen Him. He explains that the reason they are amazed at His teaching and astounded at His actions are because they are God’s teaching and actions. When He says He is the Way and the Truth He doesn’t mean He can show them the way and tell them the truth. He means He has revealed the way and the truth because of who He is; by His very nature He shows them who God is. So because they have seen Him, they have seen God.
But we weren’t there, how do we see or know God? Well today is Pentecost where we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit to the church. Jesus described some of the functions of the Spirit, to lead us, to counsel us, to comfort us and to support us. They are identical functions to those He carried out. So just as Jesus revealed who God is to the disciples, so the Spirit reveals who Jesus is to us. Just as Jesus was engaged in a mission to reveal God’s love to the world, so now the Spirit engages us in the same mission. As Jesus was God incarnate, the Spirit allows the church to be Jesus incarnate. Thanks to the Spirit we can know Jesus fully and continue with the revelation of God’s love to our communities. When we ask one another “what would Jesus do?” we miss this point. Thanks to the Spirit we can ask Jesus Himself, and be assured of knowing both the answer and Jesus personally.