I want to draw you back to our wonderful study of the Twelve Apostles. You can open your Bible again to the sixth chapter of Luke and we're going to take a look today at the next name in the list of the Twelve, the fifth one, Philip. The Twelve Apostles are named here for us in verses 14 through 16 of Luke 6 as Simon, whom He also, being Jesus, named Peter, Andrew his brother, James and John and Philip and Bartholomew, sometimes called Nathanael, and Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon who is called the Zealot, Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
Here Luke introduces to us the twelve whom Jesus pulled close to Him for the remaining two years of His ministry in order that He might shape them into Apostles, or sent ones, messengers, to carry on the preaching of the gospel and the establishing of the church after He had gone back to the Father in heaven. We are introduced to these men whom He now begins to formally train and prepare for their most auspicious and wonderful task.
The glorious gospel of salvation was the message which the Apostles eventually preached. They preached the gospel. They were selected to be the formidable, the official preachers of the gospel and therefore the founders of the church of Jesus Christ.
To be an Apostle, to be numbered among the Twelve, was unquestionably the highest honor ever given to a human. The highest calling anyone could ever receive was to be selected by the Lord Jesus personally for this responsibility. The selection was remarkable. He had, no doubt, hundreds of followers out of which He chose these twelve. They were selected, of course, in response to a night in prayer in which the will of God was clearly affirmed in the mind of Jesus and after that the Lord the next day selected the Twelve. He pulled them close to Him and spent the next couple of years in very, very intimate fellowship with them, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for the duration of His time on earth, including the 40 days after the resurrection before His ascension.
They were then personally mentored by Jesus Himself to be His official representatives. We will find out in chapter 9 that He gave to them the ability to cast out demons and the ability to heal the sick and even raise the dead as a way to authenticate their preaching. The Bible had not been written and so when they preached, people needed some way to know that it was truly the message of God. They couldn't compare it with the New Testament since the New Testament hadn't been written, so they were given the ability to do signs and wonders and mighty deeds, evidence that God was working through them so that people would know God was also speaking through them.
As I said, this is the highest calling to which any human has ever been called. They will be honored to be the official preachers of the gospel, founders of the church. They will be honored to be responsible for much of the writing of the New Testament. And one later added to their number by the name of Paul will be particularly used by God to write at least 13 books of the New Testament. They will be further honored by ruling over the twelve tribes of Israel in the Millennial Kingdom and as well, they will have their names carved on the foundation stones under each of the twelve gates of the New Jerusalem, the capital city of the eternal heaven. No one in history has ever had higher honor than this.
And what is remarkable about it is they were such common people. One might think that for such an honorable role there was some level of education, there was some level of erudition, there was some level of accomplishment, or achievement, some demonstration of leadership, some equipment in terms of oratorical skill that certainly they would need to have been a priest, a rabbi, a Pharisee, a Sadducee, somebody important in the religion of Judaism, but none of them were any of those. They were not theologians. They were not religious leaders. They were not famous. They were not powerful. They were not honored. They were not noble. They were just common men. None of them was a professional, as we would identify a professional. They were common working men.
And that reminds us of the kinds of people that the Lord uses so that as 1 Corinthians 1:29, "No one should boast before God." And so that as 1 Corinthians 2:5 says, "Your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God." In order that God's power be clear, in order that God's wisdom be clear, in order that God receive all the glory, He chooses to use the commonest of the common for His uncommon and supernatural purposes.
Now I want you to notice again in verse 13 that He named these twelve Apostles. Familiar name to any student of the New Testament studies. We understand that word, means a messenger, a delegate, an envoy from the verb apostello, to send. But let me enrich that concept a little bit for you. As we go through these twelve names I'll build a little on the introductory side so you'll understand something of the character of being an Apostle, something of the nature of apostleship.
Recent studies of Jewish history have revealed that in Judaism there was a particular title given to a unique set of individuals. The title is the word saliac(???) or shaliac(???) probably be the better way to translate it, shaliac(???). A shaliacin Judaism was recognized by everyone. In the New Testament times, at the very time the story of Jesus is going on, the shaliacis a very important part of Jewish life. Now what was a shaliac? A shaliac primarily had legal significance, not so much religious significance. To be a shaliac was to bear legal power. The best way to describe a shaliac in our contemporary terminology would be to say that a shaliac was someone who had power of attorney. We know the phrase "power of attorney," what that means is, you act in behalf of someone with full authority and full power. You act as if that person were there. That's how much authority and power you have. That was the shaliac from the verb shalach, to send. They were sent as an envoy, as a delegate, as a messenger with full authorization to act in behalf of the person who sent them. They bore power of attorney. They could execute any task, they could sign any document, they could make any contract in the name of the person who sent them.
Shaliac was the authoritative representative, fully identified with the one whom he represented and acting with full power on behalf of his commissioner. And recent scholars believe that the concept of shaliac loads itself into the word Apostle so that the Greek term Apostle has connections with the Hebrew term shalach.
The Apostles then are not just generic, they are men given power of attorney to act in behalf of Christ, to speak for Christ, to heal in His name, on occasion to raise the dead in His name and to cast out demons in His name. The Twelve then were the shaliac of the Messiah.
To further illustrate this idea, look to the thirteenth chapter of John for a moment. There are a couple of verses that I think give the sense of this. Here in this thirteenth chapter is a critical time between Jesus and His Apostles. They are in the upper room, Jesus is giving them final instruction here in this what is known as the upper room discourse, the night of the Passover, the night of His betrayal, preceding His death. And He gathers the disciples, and this is a time to clarify for the Twelve who are both disciples and Apostles, some matters.
One of them comes in verse 16. He says at the end of the verse, "Neither is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him." This is official language. This is Jesus saying, "You represent Me, you're not greater than Me, but you represent Me." In a sense He's saying, you're not lesser than Me, I'm not saying that, but know that you're not greater than Me. Expect to be treated the way I'm treated.
And then down in verse 20 He further adds, at the end of verse 20, "He who receives Me receives Him who sent Me." When you received Me, you were receiving the Father who sent Me. In a sense, I came as an official authorized shaliac of God and when you received Me, you received the Father. Backing up again in verse 20, "He who receives whomever I send, receives Me." Here is that same concept, that official sense, that authorized sense. I represent the Father, I speak for the Father, I act for the Father. In fact, Jesus said, "I only speak what the Father tells Me to speak, and I only do what the Father shows Me to do." Clearly He indicated that. And Jesus says, "When you receive Me, you received Him and whomever receives you, receives Me because you bring My words and you do My works." This in the words of Jesus Himself seems to be defining Apostleship in terms that were familiar to the Jews under the concept of the shaliac.
I think the Apostle Paul very likely understood this as well because in Galatians chapter 4, even though he was added later on as an Apostle late in time, but nonetheless bearing all of the rights of an Apostle, even having seen the resurrected Christ on the road to Damascus, in verse 14 of Galatians 4, Paul at the end of the verse says, "You received me as an angel," says the NAS, it's angelos, messenger, "as a messenger of God, as Christ Jesus Himself." So Paul understands this idea of official representation. You received me as a messenger of God, that is as if it were Christ Himself.
This is a marvelous way to understand the apostleship. They literally had full power of attorney to speak for Christ, and act for Christ to bring the message that was His message and to do the mighty miracles and the deeds that were His miracles and His deeds. They did not act on their own power, they did not bring their own message. They were not independent freelancers, they functioned under Christ as authorized representatives, not singularly but as a group for the purposes of Christ.
Judas later was replaced because obviously he was a traitor, a defector, a devil from the beginning. Was replaced in the first chapter of Acts by a man named Matthias. These were the foundation of the church as they spread the gospel and established the church by preaching attendant with signs and wonders. They came with the full power and message of Christ.
The most important function of an Apostle was witness...witness. we mentioned that word last week in connection with John. It's the word marturiafrom which we get martyr because so many witnesses were killed, the word marturia, or martyr, became associated with death. But the original meaning of the word is witness. The primary responsibility of the Apostles would be to witness to the gospel, to preach the gospel and to write the gospel so as to establish the church. That is why John in John's gospel begins his gospel, Ha ana parkes, ha akaamen(?????), and on he goes to say, "The things which we have heard, the things which we have seen, the things that our hands have handled concerning the Word of life, these are the things we declare to you." What we saw, what we heard, what we touched concerning the Word of life, the living Christ, this is what we tell you. They were the official shaliac of the Messiah.
The witness of the shaliac, by the way, was binding. It had full authority from the Messiah and behind Him from God because he spoke with the power of Christ and the power of God behind him. Look at 1 Thessalonians 2:13, again you'll see that Paul understood this and so did the Thessalonians who heard him. He says in verse 13 of 1 Thessalonians 2, "For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received from us the Word of God's message, when you heard God's message from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the Word of God." Paul says I'm thankful that you understood that I was a shaliac, that I was an authorized official representative of God who spoke the Word of God with full power of attorney. And even in 1 Corinthians 11 verse 23, Paul says that what I'm giving you is what I received from Jesus Christ.
So we are meeting the Apostles and we're meeting unique men, the highest calling that's ever been given to anybody in the history of the world. And what is so stunning about it is that they were so common. And this is the remarkable and wonderful, wonderful truth that gives hope to all of us, isn't it? God uses the lowly people, very ordinary. In fact, I suppose they would say their personalities were to one degree or another flawed. But then, of course, the only explanation for what they did is not them, but the power of God through them. And God gets all the glory.
Now we've already met Peter, Andrew, James and John. Fascinating characters, they were. Two sets of brothers, Peter and Andrew were brothers, James and John were brothers. They came from the same place, little town of Bethsaida, ended up in Capernaum, partners in a fishing business, all four of them. They were longing for the coming of Messiah. They were true Jews, believed in the true God, looking for the Messiah. They had that in common. They knew each other not only from their fishing business, they knew each other probably from synagogue attendance. They knew each other because their hearts were set toward the Messiah, they were thrilled when John the Baptist showed up and announced the arrival of Messiah, pointed to the Lamb of God, takes away the sin of the world. And they had attached themselves to Jesus and were among His learners, His disciples.
And we've learned about the way they were different. Peter was that dynamic, bold, eager, take-charge guy, initiating, confronting, talking a better life than he ever could live, having undo confidence in himself. He acted too hastily, talked too much, failed miserably, was impulsive. He was always the leader, though, always in charge, always the first one, always the representative of the group. And eventually the Lord shaped him into a powerful, powerful forgiven, restored preacher who literally preaches his way through the first twelve chapters of Acts in the establishment of the church among the Jews, and even the first Gentile converts.
And then there was Andrew who lived his whole life in the shadow of his brother, Peter. Andrew, not boisterous like Peter, so different, humble, quiet, gentle, inconspicuous, never seeking prominence, a man who saw not crowds but individuals and every time we see him he's bringing somebody to Jesus.
Then there was James, passionate, zealous, ambitious, judgmental, narrow, sectarian, explosive, competitive whose ambition had to be redirected to the glory of Christ and whose passion had to be rechanneled to the building of the church, not tearing people down. And James eventually became such a stalwart that when Herod wanted to stop the growth of the church, he didn't kill Peter, he killed James.
And then there was the brother of James, John, also a son of thunder, boisterous, explosive, narrow, sectarian. But became known as the Apostle of love because Jesus took on the project of teaching John how to love by loving John till John so much understood that that he always referred to himself the same way, "The Apostle whom Jesus loved." And John is the great example in the New Testament of the balance between truth and love.
Well those are the first four clay pots. Now we come to group two. There are three groups, remember, of four. First four, second four, third four...four lists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and Acts all have the lists of the Apostles. They are always the same groups of four, though the names mix in the group, the first name is always Peter and the first name in the second two groups is always the same. So when you come to the first name of group two, this little group had Philip as their leader. First names don't change, the other names do.
So we meet Philip. Philip is a fascinating person, wish we knew more about him than we do. We don't know a lot but the word "Philip" is a Greek word, it's a Greek name, it means "lover of horses." Don't know why he got that name, where it came from, but that's what it means.
He must have had a Jewish name because all Twelve Apostles were Jewish. We don't know what his Jewish name is, we don't know what his Jewish parents named him. They wouldn't have named him with a Greek name, but maybe the equivalent in Hebrew, lover of horses, we don't know that. But he did have a Jewish name, we only know him, however, as Philip.
He lived in Bethsaida. That is he grew up in the same town with Peter and Andrew and must have been acquainted with James and John so that here is Jesus, amazing, you would think if He was going to choose twelve Apostles for this formidable task, He would scour the earth to find the best guys. He finds one little group of fishermen, just some buddies who knew each other and said, "That will do...that will do."
Somebody said, "All He really needs is availability, that will be enough." So He went back in to the same little village, same little non-descript place called Bethsaida up on the north end of the Galilee area. There was Philip.
He probably was a close friend of Peter and Andrew because in that small place they went to the same synagogue and because they were God-fearing Jews and looking for the Messiah, they probably had a lot in common. It's probably true that Philip was a fisherman because in the twenty-first chapter of John, second and third verse, when Peter takes the disciples back into the fishing enterprise after the resurrection, he gets a little discouraged, he doesn't think he can do what God wants him to do, what the Lord wants him to do so he goes fishing. And Philip and Andrew go along. So perhaps he was a fisherman too, like the rest.
What do we know about him? Matthew says nothing. Mark says nothing. And Luke says nothing. But John helps us, let's turn to John 1, let's at least know what we can know about Philip. He's an illustration of a completely different kind of person. He's not like Peter, he's not like Andrew, he's not like James, he's not like John. He's not at all like his buddy, Nathanael, or Bartholomew, same person. He's always pictured in the New Testament, always listed next to Nathanael/Bartholomew, always two...the two are together. But he's really not like any of those other five, he's just unique.
Let's see how we first meet him in John chapter 1. In the forty-third verse it says, "The next day..." Stop there for a moment. The next day after what? Well the next day after Jesus had called Peter and Andrew. Go back to verse 40, they heard John the Baptist preach, they followed John the Baptist. John the Baptist points them to the Messiah. They find the Messiah, they follow the Messiah. Jesus changes Peter's name and here they are, they're in the group of disciples, a large group of following Jesus.
"The next day He purposed to go forth into Galilee," that is Jesus, "and He found Philip." Now Peter and Andrew had kind of found Him, and even James and John sort of found Him. This is the first time we actually read "He found" somebody. He went after Philip. That is not to say He didn't sovereignly before the foundation of the world predetermine all the rest, but it is language unique to Philip. He is the first one to whom Jesus actually said, "Follow Me." He did have to say that to Peter, but that was at the end of His ministry, at the end of the gospel of John. Peter still being a little recalcitrant in his following.
But from the outset, He found Philip. And Jesus said to him, "Follow Me, I want you in My group, you follow Me."
But notice verse 44, it tells us Philip was from Bethsaida, that small town where Andrew and Peter lived. Philip then found Nathanael, Nathanael/Bartholomew, with whom, as I said, he's always connected in the listings. "And he said to him, 'We have found Him.'" Isn't that interesting? People always ask...what's the resolution between sovereign election and human choice? How do we resolve those things? Well here's a perfect illustration that both exist. The Lord found Philip but Philip felt that he found the Lord. "We found Him." No, no, bad theology, Philip, He found you.
But from a human perspective this was the end of his search. He had been a true Jew. He had been a true seeker. He had been committed to the Old Testament. Look at verse 45, "We have found Him." Who are you talking about? "Of whom Moses and the law and also the prophets wrote." He was a student of the Old Testament. The law and the prophets is shorthand for the Old Testament. We've studied the Old Testament. We know who we're looking for. We're looking for the Messiah. And we found the Messiah and you'll never believe it, it is Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Joseph.
Now Bethsaida was north of Nazareth, up in that Galilee area, not very far away. Nathanael can't believe it. He said to him, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" You've got to be kidding. That's a ridiculous thing for Nathanael to say because he came from Cana, that was worse than Nazareth. I've been to both places. Nazareth by all measures would have been a more significant place than Cana, a little local rivalry there.
But Philip had studied the Old Testament, we'll see more about Nathanael in the future. Philip had studied the Old Testament, studied Moses, the law, the prophets. And he was waiting for the Messiah and he was at the end of his search. "We found Him." No one brought Philip to Jesus, he was like Simeon, he was one looking for the consolation of Israel. He was waiting for the Messiah. No one had to bring him to Jesus. Jesus found him. And, of course, in truth He finds everybody who comes to Him, right? "No man comes to the Me except the Father draws him." But the Old Testament had prepared Philip's heart.
He was a student of the Old Testament, the law and the prophets, looking for the Messiah. And when it came time in the sovereign purpose of God, Jesus planning to go to Galilee put His finger on Philip and said, "Follow Me." And Philip, so excited, found his buddy, Nathanael, and said, "We found Him."
What a great beginning, huh? No reluctance. No disbelief. He just was so elated, so thrilled that he just followed. He got caught up, I think, in the emotional fulfillment of the moment. I think his faith was real, but very weak, as the later passages about him tell us. But it was a good beginning. He didn't make any effort to find more information to check things out, he just embraced the fact that the Messiah was Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. Just didn't...just didn't seem like that's the way it should be, but it's okay if that's the way it was. This was the end of the search. This is Philip. Please don't confuse him with Philip the deacon in Acts 6 and 8, later became an evangelist. Different Philip.
Turn to John 6, let's look at little more at Philip. Now we're going to get from the spiritual side of things. We know he was an Old Testament student. We know he loved the Old Testament Scripture. We know he interpreted it literally, believed in a Messiah. And when Messiah came up and said, "Follow Me," he gladly embraced Jesus as his Messiah and followed Him. So we know the spiritual side, his heart was right, he had a seeking heart and the Lord...the Lord never can call to follow Him one whose heart is not already opened. So we saw the spiritual side.
But here's his personality starting to show through. Jesus, verse 5, "Lifts up His eyes and sees a great multitude," John 6:5, huge crowd. Well we know how large the crowd was, there were five thousand men, which means at least five thousand women and fifteen thousand kids, who knows? Huge crowd. He lifts up his eyes, sees this great multitude coming at Him. And He said to Philip, this is interesting, "Where are we to buy bread that these may eat?" Why does He ask Philip?
Well, you know, maybe Philip was the apostolic bean counter. You know? The administrator. Maybe Philip...this is speculation...but Philip was the guy who whether officially or unofficially was the guy who always worried about the possibility of everything. He was the guy who in every meeting said, "I don't think we can do that." He was the master of the impossible, and most everything fit into that category for him, maybe.
In verse 6, "Jesus said this testing him." He wasn't testing him so that He could find out what he was like, He was testing him so that he would reveal to himself what he was like. He knew his thinking. All of a sudden He sees this massive crowd, He says, "Philip, you're usually in charge of arrangements, in charge of administrating things, could you tell us where we're going to get bread to feed this crowd?"
He knew exactly what he was thinking, he had already started counting heads. When the crowd started moving, he was...one, two... It's late in the day, this is a huge crowd. They're going to be hungry, you know. I mean, essentially life was eating, wasn't it? And eating in those days wasn't an easy thing, there wasn't any fast-food. And He says this right out of the blue, "Where we going to buy bread that these may eat?" Philip in verse 7 answered, "Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them for everyone to receive a little."
You know, Jesus knew he had already calculated that. He had been thinking that the whole time. Here you are, Philip, standing there watching this huge crowd. Instead of thinking...oh what a glorious occasion, Jesus is going to teach the crowd, whoa what a tremendous opportunity for the Lord.
Now he had been there when the Lord created wine out of water, remember that...water to wine. He had seen miracles of healing, casting out of demons. Those kinds of things. And he sees this great crowd and he's already beginning to feel the impossible. Oh boy, it's dinner time and if we could collect two hundred denarii, we couldn't feed this crowd a snack. We're in big trouble.
The supernatural escapes these kinds of people. They're just material...material in their thinking. So Jesus wants to give him a test so he'll see what he's really like. And he responded with open unbelief, it can't be done...it can't be done. A denarius is one day's wages, two hundred days wages, eight months work, that's a lot of money for this group of essentially meager apostles in terms of money. "Nah, if we could somehow collect, you know, eight months wages, we couldn't feed this crowd even a snack." It can't be done.
You know, his calculations would have gone like this, "One denarius would buy twelve wheat biscuits, one denarius would buy 36 barley biscuits, barley's cheaper...if we get the biscuit the size of a hand and one and a half inches thick...nah, it can't be done. It can't be done." Pessimistic, analytical, pragmatic, sad isn't it, who wants to live like that?
One of the supreme essentials of leadership is a sense of the possible, certainly if you're hanging around Christ. Philip had a great dealing for the impossible. He knew too much arithmetic to be adventurous. He should have said, "Lord, You want to feed them, feed them, I'm just going to stand back and watch how You do it. You can do it, Lord. Do it. We'll tell everybody to get in line, You just make the food." That would have been great, wouldn't it? Man...can't be done.
On the other hand, you have Andrew, verse 8, and every time we see Andrew, what's he doing? He's bringing someone to Jesus. Here comes Andrew. "Simon Peter's brother" always has to be added there, poor Andrew, he lived in that shadow his whole life. I don't think it will say that on the foundation stone of his gate in the New Jerusalem. I think it will just be ANDREW, big letters.
Anyway, "He said to Him, 'There's a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many?'" Now Andrew had a glimmer of the possible. I couldn't find much but I found one guy and he had already seen Jesus turn water into wine, who knows what He can do with two little...well essentially what he's got here is two pickled fish and five crackers. Boy, Andrew's little faith was honored. Philip lost the opportunity and a little boy brought by Andrew seized it.
You see, Philip was a materialist. He was the man of practical things. He was the common sense guy. He was the measurements guy. He was the methods guy. He was the mechanical guy with little understanding of the supernatural and he was more interested in facts and figures than faith.
Turn to John 12, this is confirmed for us again. John 12, now I'll give you a little background. Go down to verse 20, "Now there were certain Greeks, Gentiles, among those who were going to worship at the feast." There were some Gentiles who were coming to worship God at the Passover, this was the final Passover in Jesus' life. And so here are some Gentiles, there were many Gentiles, you know, who were proselytes to Judaism who worshiped the true God, God-fearing Gentiles. And they came to worship at the feast.
Well if they were converted to Judaism would have been very interested in Jesus. So verse 21, "These therefore came to Philip." Now I don't know why they came to Philip except that maybe Philip was sort of the...he was sort of the administrator, he was sort of the arrangement guy, right? He was going to arrange for the food and maybe it was his deal to count the beans and figure out where you're going to go and who can do this, he was the guy who had the little manual and he was in charge of operations.
And so, if you wanted to get to Jesus, you sort of went to the...he was the spearhead. "They went to Philip who was from Bethsaida of Galilee and they began to ask him, saying, 'Sir, we wish to see Jesus.'" Not a hard question, right? Not a hard question. "We want to see Jesus. We have heard about the Messiah, we've come into town from Gentile lands, we've come into town for the Passover here in Jerusalem, we would love to meet Jesus."
Hey, great.... Well, Philip wasn't real sure about this, got to check the manual on Gentiles and Jesus. A little concerned. Now, Jesus said on occasion when He sent the disciples out, "Don't go to the Gentiles and don't go to the Samaritans," right? Matthew 10:5 and 6, "You just go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Now is that a fixed prohibition from ever introducing a Gentile to Jesus? No. It simply identifies the priority the Jew first and also the Greek. Jesus Himself first revealed that He was the Messiah to a Samaritan woman. But the general pattern is going to be to evangelize the Jews, but general patterns don't usually work very well for these kinds of people, they just go by rules. So, I don't know, it's not in the manual.
But, you know, he's got a good heart. So he goes to Andrew. Why? Because Andrew brings everybody to Jesus. That's what he does. And there's something in the heart of Philip that knows that's right. But he just...he's not decisive. He can only, he has what we call passive aggressive characteristics. He only gets aggressive to stop something. He will never lead the parade, he's not that kind of leader. He will just try to stop it. He only gets aggressive to prevent because he fears it can't be done. But there's a little something in his heart that says they should meet Jesus, He's so incredible. But it's not in the book, I'll take him to Andrew and then nobody can say to me, "You didn't go by the book." Andrew did it, and you know him, he's always bringing everybody to Jesus.
So Andrew and Philip came and told Jesus. "There's some Gentiles to see you, Lord." The text doesn't say but I think it's fair to assume He saw them. He said Himself, "Whoever comes to Me, I will in no wise cast out." But, you see, Andrew just...he was by the book, analytical, skeptical. He had...Philip, I should say, he was analytical, skeptical, by the book and if he was going to bring anybody to Jesus that didn't seem to be according to the rules, he had to get somebody else involved. He couldn't find any official precedent for letting the Gentiles see Jesus, couldn't get pass the rules.
Well, finally we see him in the fourteenth chapter of John. This is kind of sad, honestly. It is sad. We would hope by the time you get to this point, this is two years after he's been chosen, this is two years after he's been in the process of being trained. This is two years of teaching by Jesus, two years of miracles by Jesus, two years of healings, two years of casting out demons, two years of intimate day in and day out, 24 hours a day seven days a week fellowship with Jesus has gone by and here we meet him and Jesus says in verse 6 of John 14, this is in the opening of the upper room discourse, the night of His betrayal. "I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but through Me." You can't come to God except through Me, He says to the twelve that are with Him there, actually Judas is still there, he leaves later that evening. "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also, from now on you know Him and have seen Him."
Then Philip, here's Philip, he says, "Lord, show us the Father and it is enough for us." Oh brother, come on. What do you mean, show us the Father? Where have you been? "Jesus said to him, 'Have I been so long with you and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has...what...seen the Father." How can you possibly be saying...show us the Father? This is very discouraging. What do you think has been going on these years? Three of them, three years? Two years of intimate association, what do you think has been going on? What do you think's been going on with all of this?
Verse 10, "Do you not believe I'm in the Father and the Father's in Me?" Don't you believe there's no difference? "The words which I say to you I don't speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works." The words that I say, they're from the Father, the works that I do, they're from the Father, I am to the Father what you are to Me, I am the Father's shaliac, I act with His full power of attorney.
More than that, I am the Father in essence. The Father is Me. We share the same divine being. He says in verse 10, "Do you not believe?" In verse 11, "Believe." I can tell you don't believe...believe I'm the Messiah, fine, you believe I'm a miracle worker, but somehow you're tendency toward skepticism has allowed you not to make the ultimate conclusion that you are in the presence of the living and eternal God Himself. So He goes from "Do you not believe," in verse 10, to "Believe...believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me. And please believe on account of the works." There's no other explanation. You don't need further miracles. Show us the Father.
What are you saying? What do you think I've been doing? For three years this man, Philip, had gazed into the only face of God that he would ever see...and it wasn't clear. His materialism, his skepticism, his small-mindedness that shut him off from a full apprehension of whose presence he had enjoyed. He was a man of limited ability. He was a man of limited faith. He was a man of imperfect understanding. He was skeptical, analytical, pessimistic, reluctant, unsure, wanted to go by the book all the time, facts and figures controlled his life, never got the big picture of divine power, person and grace. Slow to understand, show to trust, it seemed like his life was limited by circumstances, money, rules, proof. Yeah, I know it...if you were interviewing Philip and you looked at this you would say...he's out, can't make him one of the twelve most important people in the history of the world.
Well, Jesus said...exactly what I'm looking for, and I'll make him into a preacher and I'll make him into a founder of the church and I'll make him into a ruler in the Kingdom and I'll give to him eternal reward in heaven for the work that he does.
The Lord uses people like him, lots of them. And by the way, tradition tells us that he was so faithful to Christ, so devout, so loyal that he wouldn't recant Christ under the Roman persecution. And because he wouldn't, they stripped him of his clothes, they put steel rods through his ankles and through his thighs and they hung him by those upside down. And he said, according to the tradition, that when he was dead he did not want to be wrapped in a linen garment, because he wasn't worthy to be treated the way his Lord was in His death.