Lesson 4: Philip–The Man Jesus Found

This Lesson is part of John’s Gospel Easy Notes Series. 

Jesus took time to talk with individuals during his ministry. In John’s gospel we have a record of many conversations that Jesus had. Each one of them impacted the people to whom he talked with. Here let us look at Jesus’ Conversation with Philip.

 “Follow Me.”
John 1:43
It was Jesus who found Philip. The command to him was: “Follow me.” If we take care to follow those two simple words what a difference it will make in our lives.

We try to follow ideas and philosophies; but they do not meet our deepest needs. We try to follow great men and women of God; but Jesus did not ask us to. But what he said is “Follow me!” It calls for us to say NO to all distractions that shout aloud to seek our attention. And “fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2).”

Philip Tested
John 6:5—7
Has Jesus ever asked you a question? Even if yes or no; the point is that his questions can reveal who we really are. When Jesus saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” That looks like a straightforward question. But John adds, “He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.”

How many times do we jump in with suggestions to God in prayer! Remember he does not need our wisdom and guidance. What we need to realize is who we have with us. Philip seems to have forgotten that Jesus is able to meet any situation in his own way.

Philip based his calculation on the Roman Denarius. It was a coin which had the purchasing power of a labouring man’s daily wage. Philip replied that eight months’ wages (two-thirds of a man’s yearly earnings) would not buy enough bread for “each one to have a bite!”

Philip thought only about cash and impossibility. Have you ever told Jesus that it could not be done? On what did you base your findings? Look and see who is with you. Ask what his plans are. He already knows what he wants to do with your situation in life.
Let Nothing Be Wasted

Jesus Found Philip; but Did Philip Really Find Jesus?
John 14:8

Philip’s response to one of Jesus’ greatest proclamation about himself—“I am the way and the truth and the life”–was a great disappointment to Jesus. Philip simply did not understand even after Jesus said: “No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Here was Jesus speaking about his relationship to the Father. Here was Jesus telling that he and his Father are one. Yet Philip’s response was: “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

What does Philip’s statement mean? Do we often tell this to Jesus as well? Philip was an earnest seeker. But he represents people who want God to be made in the likeness and image they want God to look like. Man had always wanted to see God. God, in turn, met that demand in Jesus. Therefore Jesus said: “Anyone has seen me has seen the Father.”

Jesus did not hide his disappointment with Philip’s response either. He said to Philip: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time?” Let us face this question honestly and bluntly. Is Jesus asking this question to you and me today? Do we really know Jesus?

Is he God to you and me? If he is God, does he have the worship and adoration and praise from us that he alone deserves? Or is he just a Santa Claus who is there to meet our needs; someone to whom we can instantly dial in case of emergency?

What was Jesus trying to tell Philip?
In the same way Philip could see and understand Jesus through his physical senses, in the same way we can be certain that God the Father is real. Jesus presents three things as evidence to support what he said:

One, Jesus is asking Philip to recall the evidence of the intimate relationship that he had with his Father (14: 10a). Jesus always was conscious of his Father’s presence with him (for example see John 11:42, 43).

Two, the evidence of the words that Jesus spoke. Jesus said that the words that he spoke were not just his own. He said it belonged to the Father living in him. John had earlier commented that “For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God (3:34),” for God has given the Spirit to him without limit. Even the temple guards who tried to seize Jesus said, “No one ever spoke the way this man does (7:34).” Isn’t there the authority of God in Jesus’ words? Do you know anyone else who spoke with this kind of authority in human history ever?

Three, Jesus added the evidence of the miracles he did (14: 11). Sadly, the next three verses have been wrongly used to claim that the disciples of Jesus will be doing greater miracles in terms of healing and so on. What Jesus was referring to was that his followers who believe in his name would so pray for the glory of God to be revealed (“I will do whatever you ask in my name”) through the good works they will be enabled to do throughout the world. That includes healing—miraculous as well as healing enabled through hospitals. What has changed is the fact that Jesus was limited to Palestine in his earthly days. Today, he, through the indwelling Spirit of God in the life of believers, reaches out to every nook and corner of the earth.

What Does Philip Remind You and Me?

  • We are to follow Jesus, and not any great man or woman of God.
  • We need not calculate our resources to base our trust in them. Instead let us simply recognize who is with us.
  • We need to see Jesus for who he really is. He is God who came in human flesh to help us see who God the Father is.
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