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Following Like Philip

April 1, 2020 Dear Praying Friends, Thank you for joining Rachel and me in prayer today for our prodigals and for revival. It’s no April fools’ joke that God hears and answers prayer. In fact, He promises He will. In studying John fourteen lately, I came across a disciple we don’t usually hear much about. His name is Philip, an extraordinary person, whose character and behavior we should seek to emulate. We are introduced to him in chapter one when Jesus decided to go to Galilee. It says, “He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me’” (Jn 1:43). Philip responded positively and became a disciple or follower of Christ. He wasn’t afraid to do the right thing even though it wasn’t easy or popular. He was a man of courage. Standing with Jesus will always take courage. Immediately after the call of Jesus, Philip, who was from Bethsaida (the same town as Andrew and Peter), went after Nathanael to share the good news of his newfound treasure in the Messiah. He was full of excitement and zeal. He loved Jesus and wanted to share the wonder of Him with others. He didn’t need to be told to do this; there was an instinctive genuine love for others that marked him right from the start. The next reference to Philip in John’s gospel is in chapter six. There was a large crowd of five thousand men along with others and Jesus wanted to feed them. He turned to Philip and asked him, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” It was a little test and Philip couldn’t figure out how they could buy enough food to feed so many. He didn’t know Jesus well, and his faith was small, so he just stated the obvious, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” His openness and transparency are quite refreshing, to say the least. He didn’t try to cover up, and didn’t try to give a spiritual answer, he didn’t try to pretend, he just spoke what was in his heart. He was real.  Maybe this is one reason the progression of events in John twelve went the way they did. They were at the feast in Jerusalem and some Greeks were there and wanted to see Jesus. They didn’t go straight to Him. They didn’t go to Peter. They went to Philip. They said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” From there, Philip told Andrew and both of them went to Jesus to let Him know. What I find most intriguing is that the Greeks went to Philip first. This tells me he was approachable. He didn’t scare people away, but rather had an inviting and kind personality that allowed people to get close and open up to him. The last mention of Philip in John’s gospel comes in chapter fourteen. Notice the language: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.’ Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us’” (Jn 14:6-8). While he, like the others, was slow to understand the words of Jesus, he had a longing desire to know his heavenly Father, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and he wasn’t afraid to make it known. Jesus had to clarify by saying, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9). But the underlying fact as this all relates to Philip, is that as long as he knew the Father, nothing else mattered. Philip said, “Show us the Father, and it is enough.” Whatever else he did or didn’t know, his pursuit was to come into a deeper, more intimate relationship with his Father God. The Scriptures are silent, but history records the movement of the disciples after those early days, and Philip went into Turkey with the gospel of Christ. He was willing to die for his faith and was later martyred in Hierapolis. Philip was committed to his Lord even to death. How amazing! I am sure there were plenty of failures in Philip, as there are in all of us, but just add up the good things I have mentioned: courage to do the right thing, love for his neighbor, transparency before God, approachability, a desire for intimacy with the Father, and full commitment to Christ to the point of death. May God help each of us, as we face the pressures and problems of our present day, to understand that our strength is found in Him alone. Love in Christ, Bryan and Rachel


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