Philip was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. The name Philip (Gr. Philippos) means “fond of horses.” He was a native of Bethsaida (John 1:44), near the northern end of the Lake of Galilee. He also was among those surrounding John the Baptist when the latter first pointed out Jesus as the Lamb of God (John 1:43). Most of what we know about Philip before Christ’s ascension comes to us through the record of the Gospel of John (chs. 1:43–48; 6:5–7; 12:21, 22; 14:8, 9).
The first mention of Philip is when he found Nathanael saying, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (John 1:45). Here, we notice that the first impulse in the heart of one who is truly converted is to share the joy and the blessing of salvation with others, particularly with those who are near and dear.
The second mention of Philip is in the story of feeding the five thousand. Jesus addressed the question 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. Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little” (John 6: 6,7).
The third mention to Philip is when certain Greeks came seeking Jesus (John 12:20,21). Both Philip and Andrew had Greek names, and their Hellenistic ancestry may account for their part in the present incident. To their request Jesus responded, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified” (v.23). The visit of the Greeks suggested to Jesus what would be the result of His death, namely, the conversion of many from the Gentile nations.
The fourth mention to Philip is when he asked Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us. Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14: 8, 9).
Philip the Apostle should not be confused with Philip the Evangelist, who was appointed with Stephen to oversee charitable distributions (Acts 6:5). Christian traditions describe Philip as the apostle who preached in Greece, Syria, and Phrygia and was martyred there in Hierapolis.
In His service,
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