James (the lesser) and Philip


Philip said to him, 
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?

While some of the saints that knew the Easter Christ have certainly shaped our image of Christ, Those Apostles that walked with Christ throughout his ministry are the ones that gave the foundation of faith that these successive saints based their understanding of who Jesus was. In Saint Athanasius discussion on the divinity of Christ, is it difficult to see the lesson he learned in Jesus response to the Apostle Philip? “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?” these are the first to walk with Christ, and the first to declare Jesus risen, and those who witness his ascension.  Though it is difficult to say that they fully understood Christ, they provided the Gospel that theologians could argue through the ages and it was those Apostles that brought structure to the early church. It was James the lesser that led the church of Jerusalem  and it was he that addressed many of the early issues concerning Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians. It was he who dealt with forming a community consisting of both these groups that remained truthful to Jesus. It was James that laid the foundation for the Christians attitude towards Jewish dietary laws, circumcision  and Jewish commandments. It was he who addressed the Gentiles ability to keep their cultural identity while maintaining a faithful dialogue with Christ.Though they had questions about Christ, they were able to build that foundation because of their knowledge of Christ. In thinking of that apostolic succession that that the Church builds on, it is easy to see that building with the apostles as the rock foundation and the Saints as all that is built upon that foundation.It also becomes clear to see that though that Church is solidly built and complete, it is still built upon by successive generations that ask “Master, show us the Father.” Like the early Apostles and the saints we too have questions of who Jesus is, and we house our understanding of Christ on the foundation of these Apostles

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