What Philip Saw in Jesus

By Royce Frederick

On four occasions, the book of John mentions Philip as a special part of the story. Each event shows us some important things about Jesus through the eyes of Philip.

When Jesus called some apostles, Philip saw ONE WHO SEEKS LOST SOULS. Jesus “found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow Me’” (Jn. 1:43). Jesus came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Lk. 19:10).

Immediately “Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote — Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph’” (Jn. 1:45). Today, Jesus uses His gospel to call sinners (2 Thess. 2:14; Rom. 1:16; 10:9-17). When a sinner obeys the gospel, he is saved from sin and added to the Lord’s body, the church (Acts 2:38-47; Gal. 3:26-27; Eph. 1:22-23; Matt. 16:18; Rom. 16:16). Like Philip, when we have found salvation in Christ, we should begin inviting others to share in that blessing!

When Jesus fed 5,000 people, Philip saw ONE WHO PROVIDES FOR OUR NEEDS. Seeing the crowd, Jesus said to Philip, “‘Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?’ But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do” (Jn. 6:5-6). Jesus did not need help, but Philip needed a lesson about faith in Jesus. “Philip answered Him, ‘Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little’” (Jn. 6:7).

Philip did not yet realize that God through Jesus can supply everything we need (Matt. 28:18; Jn. 16:23-24). Using only five barley loaves and two small fish, Jesus fed all the people “as much as they wanted” (Jn. 6:11). This does not mean we can quit working. God blesses labor, not laziness (Jas. 1:25; 1 Thess. 4:11; Eph. 4:28; 1 Tim. 5:8). He provides food for the birds (Matt. 6:26), yet they must go get it. Likewise, He helps us when we labor to do His will (Matt. 6:33). As we take the gospel to others, Jesus assures us, “...I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).

When some Greeks desired to meet Jesus, Philip saw ONE WHO PUT GOD’S WILL ABOVE HIS OWN. The Greeks said to Philip, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” (Jn. 12:21). Philip and Andrew took them to Jesus, who said, “The hour has come that the son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain...Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. ‘Father, glorify Your name’” (Jn. 12:23-24, 27-28a). Jesus was willing to endure the cross to glorify God. “Then a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘I have both glorified it and will glorify it again’” (Jn. 12:28b).

Jesus knew He would die on the cross. “‘And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.’ This He said, signifying by what death He would die” (Jn. 12:32-33). He was willing to pay the death penalty for our sins. He could see beyond the pain and loneliness of the cross to the glory and fellowship of heaven (Heb. 12:2; Jn. 12:32)!

At the last supper, Philip saw ONE WHO IS THE WAY TO GOD. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn. 14:6). Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us” (14:8). He believed that Jesus truly is able to show God to us. However, Jesus replied, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father...” (14:9). Before time began, the Son of God was one with God the Father (Jn. 1:1-3; 17:5). He became flesh to lead us to the Father (Jn. 1:14; 14:1-4; 1 Pet. 3:18-22; Rom. 6:3-5; 8:1, 17).

When we study God’s word and let it dwell in us, we see the things which Philip saw in Jesus. We see the power, love, wisdom, and character of the Father in His Son, Jesus Christ. “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9; see Heb. 1:3)!