The goal of this series is to study the group of 12 young men who spent approximately 3 years with Jesus, from the time of his baptism until his resurrection. We’ll look at their character, their transformation, and their relationship with Jesus and learn from their lives.
You can read the full preface to this series to see how I have defined discipleship and see a timeline of how the disciples met Jesus and followed him.
Philip: The Curious
I love this picture…and not just because I like Curious George!
I think it’s a cool mental picture for the disciple Philip. Everyone knows Peter, James, and John. Andrew is slightly behind them. Outside of that, the rest of the disciple are a bit obscure to most of us. But I don’t think it has to stay this way. I hope these pictures will help you differentiate the disciples as you seek to know and understand the Bible.
3 Things to Learn from Philip the Curious
Philip is mentioned a few times in the Gospel of John, giving us some much-needed insight into his life and character. From these, we can look at 3 defining things about Philip.
1. Looking forward to the Messiah:
In John 1:45 we find out that Philip is a devout student of the Word of God. His call to Nathanael reveals this clearly when Philip invites him to come and see the man (Jesus) that the Law and the Prophets wrote about. Philip, apparently, is well versed in the Law and Prophets (the majority of the Old Testament) and knows the signs and prophecies of the Messiah to come.
2. Working out the cost:
Jesus, fully aware of how the human body works, saw the growing crowd and leaned over in one of the few recorded conversations with Philip and asked a simple question: “How are we going to feed all of these people?”
I love this quote from G. Campbell Morgan:
“He [Jesus] did not need advice. He did not need counsel; but Philip needed proving, needed to see more than he had yet been able to see. Asking the question, Philip found his mind challenged. He gave his answer quite honestly, and in doing so, revealed himself.” Excerpt From: G. Campbell Morgan. “The Great Physician.”
And what was Philip’s response? As we noted earlier, Philip converts the crowd to dollar signs and reports to Jesus that it will cost way too much to feed these people. Jesus, however, reveals the power of God while helping Philip see that God isn’t trapped by the practical.
3. In need of some proof:
The last recorded conversation between Philip and Jesus reveals Philip’s last bit of doubt. He’s been seeking the Messiah. He’s had his pragmatism revealed. Yet he still doesn’t understand God. Like many today, he still held a view (we can assume) that God was somehow different from Jesus.
In John 14:8-9, surrounded in the context of John 13-15, Jesus is revealing that He and the Father are one! This is a radical statement and Philip isn’t convinced. Instead, he asks Jesus to show them (the disciples) the Father. Jesus, calm and full of love, simply restates that He and the Father are one. They are the same. Jesus is the exact representation of the Father (Hebrews 1:3, Colossians 1:15).
But…he wants proof. Something to which I think we can all relate!
Philip: A Quick Profile
Philip is a fun character. I mean, just look at how he’s represented here!
He’s simple and pragmatic. When Jesus asks him how they are going to feed the crowd of five thousand, Philip does some quick mental math and decides that the cost will be a bit steep (John 6:6-7).
Tradition says Philip the Apostle preached in Phrygia, in Asia Minor, and was martyred there at Hierapolis.
Philip the Apostle’s Accomplishments:
Along with the other disciples, Philip learned the truths about the kingdom of God in the presence of Jesus! That alone is quite a remarkable accomplishment. Later, he preached the gospel after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension.
Philip fervently sought the Messiah and recognized that Jesus was the promised Savior, even though he did not fully understand until after Jesus’ resurrection.
As with the other apostles, Philip deserted Jesus during his trial and crucifixion. His time with Jesus is also remembered as a time of seeking proof and missing, at times, the message of Jesus.
Life Lessons from Philip the Apostle:
Eternal life in Christ is available to anyone who desires it.
Bethsaida, in Galilee.
Preview of the Next Disciple:
I hope this has opened your eyes to the fact that Philip was a real man. He wasn’t just a character on a few pages of the Bible. He was real and there’s so much we can learn from him.
Next, we will look at John. What do we know about John and what lessons can we learn from his life? You can find out this and much more in the next post.
Wait! Don’t Leave Without Saying Hi!
Thanks for taking the time to read. Below is a place for you to say hi, what you thought about the post, and ask any questions you may have. And yes, I’ll respond! In fact, I’m looking forward to interacting with you! So what are you waiting for? Leave a comment below!
*For related reading about the disciples/apostles of Jesus, please visit my friend’s page here.
Check Out the Rest of the Series
Also published on Medium.