17:6 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. 8 For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me."
Yesterday we saw that glory = character. Today we see that name also = character. Jesus is saying that He has manifested who God is to the eleven. Here is the definition of the word 'manifested':
5319 phaneróō (from 5457 /phṓs, "light") – properly, illumine, make manifest (visible); (figuratively) make plain, in open view; to become apparent ("graspable").
See the root word is light. It's where we get our word 'photo' from and many other related words. Jesus came as a photograph, a snapshot, a living, walking, talking, interacting manifestation of God. That's why Jesus said to Philip "If you have seen Me, you have seen God". Notice the way Jesus said it. He said "if you have seen Me..." If? Of course Philip has seen Him. They are looking right at each other. Never assume you are seeing what you see...
Sometimes we are tricked by our eyes. We see a moose and think it's a horse grazing in the field because our mind associates that shape and that scenario with horses. A closer look reveals it isn't a horse at all. Now that's just a visual misinterpretation. What about a completely different kind of seeing? What about the kind of seeing where we see but don't see.
A few years ago two women disappeared in eastern Ontario. It began with reports of women waking up to see a man watching them sleep. Women's underwear were disappearing from their homes. It escalated from there to women being taken from their homes. As police investigated the crimes the evidence or at least some of it pointed to a decorated military colonel. The evidence was dismissed as coincidental and he was not considered a suspect. In the end more evidence brought them back to him and when it was all over he fully confessed to 88 different charges of an escalating nature.
My point is not to expose the man or his crimes. My point is that investigators assumed his innocence in spite of where the evidence was pointing because they couldn't see a sick criminal. They could only see a highly respected and successful military man. Even when it was all over his neighbours expressed shock and disbelief. One even said "I know it's true but it's going to take time to accept that it's true."
We look but we often don't see. Many saw Jesus. Some saw a poor delusional carpenter from Nazareth. Many couldn't see past where he was from to even look at Him as an individual and judge Him on His own merits.
Let's be honest. If some evidence that pointed to the military officer early in the investigation had been pointing to a poor inner city black man he would have been taken into custody immediately. Sometimes the externals blind us so badly that we can't actually see the person at all.
Some saw Jesus as a good teacher with some different ideas. Some saw Him as a radical threat. Some saw Him as a liar and imposter. Some saw Him as the Messiah. Some saw Him as a healer. Some saw Him as the only One who ever treated them with dignity, respect, and compassion.
They all saw Him but all saw different things, not because of Him but because of them and their positions and perspectives.
Now catch this: It took the disciples until this very night of the "last supper" to finally and fully comprehend the very basic truth that Jesus was God in human form. Three and a half years of living in close proximity to Him in every way, observing His character, His supernatural acts, His compassion and grace, His equal treatment of all people, His disregard for borders both geographic, cultural, racial, religious and gender based. He was like no one they had ever seen and finally after all the evidence seen by their eyes, processed by their brains and felt by their emotions these men finally grasped that He was everything God is. He was manifested to them.
The world is full of things to see. The world is full of religious lenses to look through. The world is full of theories and opinions and descriptions of God.
What do you see? Have preconceived ideas or external things caused you to by pass the evidence and pass by the Manifestation of God in human form? Has religion or culture or some other bias warped your picture? Are you seeing a man where really The Man is standing?
Whatever our individual case might be let's keep following the evidence until we see the Light in all His glory and want no other Name.