Whoever Has Seen Me Has Seen the Father

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pentecost

Genesis 11:1-9
Psalm 104:25-35, 37
Romans 8:14-17
John 14:8-17, (25-27)

 

Jewish rabbis have always read Genesis 11:1 as, Now the whole earth had one language and few wordsGenesis Rabbah The reason for that translation has to do with the Hebrew words used. The understanding of a Hebrew word depends on many factors, one of which is what words are closely related. As it happens, what we generally translate as, speech, may mean, lip.

Remember that the ancient Hebrews wrote without vowels or spaces. In English, 11:1 would look like this: Nwthwhlrthhdnlnggndfwwrds. That kind of text offered more opportunities to play with the words. Is, wrds, words or wards? More modern Hebrew has spacing and vowels, but they are jots and tittles. The sentence might look like this: N’w th, wh’l, ,*rth h*d ‘n, l*ng^*g, *nd f,w w’rds.

In discussing the meaning of this story, rabbis arrived at: He [God] does not have the power to select the heavenly spheres for himself and hand over to us merely the lower world. So come, let us make a tower for ourselves and put an idol on top of it, and put a sword in its hand, so that it will appear as if it carries on warfare with himGenesis Rabbah

While we may wonder at the creative license, this statement sums up the story nicely. Humans have always wanted to play at being God, just as children pretend to be adults. God is not threatened by that, but He does want us to learn from this simple story that we can never hope to reach Heaven by our own efforts.

The response of Jesus to Phillip tells us that a reverse tower of babel came to earth. We do not have to try to reach Heaven, Heaven reached us. God filled the man Jesus and gave him the words and the power to represent God. Every action of Jesus, every word of Jesus is God in the world. We do not need to build a brick tower to reach God.

Further, Jesus said, If you really love me, you will keep the commandments I have given you and I shall ask the Father to give you someone else to stand by you, to be with you always. I mean the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, for it can neither see nor recognise that Spirit. But you recognise him, for he is with you now and will be in your hearts. I am not going to leave you alone in the worldPhillips Paul writes in Romans: For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own childrenNLT

Jesus commandments? Love God and love one another.

 

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

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