Summary: The 6th sermon in a series from the Gospel of John. In this sermon we look at the calling of Philip and Nathanael, and what we can learn from that event, and their life of following Jesus
Learning to Walk by Faith (Gospel of John Part Six)
Text: John 1:43 – 51
So, last week, we looked at how Andrew and by extension, Peter became disciples of Jesus… Today we’re going to see how Philip and Nathanael become disciples as well… and once again it’s going to be that “come and see” method of evangelism that’s going to be used here.
Ok… so let’s go ahead and look at our text this morning, and then we’ll get into it (READ TEXT).
So we’re told here that Jesus decides to go to Galilee and while He’s there, He finds a guy named Philip. And it’s interesting to me, because Philip is a Greek name… and the name Philip literally means “a lover of horses.” And not only is it an odd thing, for this disciple to have a Greek name… but he had a prominent Greek name. Philip was the name of Alexander the Great’s father… So some scholars think that Philip may have had a Greek father… or that his father was a very practical and pragmatic Jew… adapting to the surrounding Greek and Roman culture, even so far as naming his son a Greek name, so that he and his family could be successful in business.
And Philip is a pretty practical guy himself. I’ll show you that in a little bit.
Now Philip is like Andrew in the sense that he’s not the most well-known disciple. He’s not on the top of any one’s list… but he plays an important role in the Lord’s plans…
So what I want us to do, before we unpack our text is… I want us to get a picture or an idea of just exactly who Philip is, and what he was like. And I think in doing that, it will help us better understand how God works in our own lives.
From what we see in the Scriptures… Philip was… like said a second ago… a practical guy. I kind of think of it like this… Andrew was an arts guy… but Philip was a STEM guy… he’s a number cruncher. Andrew can go up and talk to anyone… and we saw that… he brings people to Jesus… but Philip needs to see the spreadsheet before he makes a move. And he’s from the same town as Andrew and Peter… he probably knew them… but there’s a difference between the way Andrew became a disciple and the way Philip did. Andrew, if you remember; was a disciple of John the Baptist… there’s no mention of Philip being one of John’s disciples. Andrew gets told about Jesus by John, and he started following Him because of that… but in our text today, we see that Jesus found Philip. And probably the reason for this is because again… Philip seems to be a practical kind of guy… he’s not the kind of guy who follows a religious “zealot” who wears animal skins and eat locust and wild honey in the wilderness.
Andrew? Yeah… he’s spiritual… Philip? No… he’s not in to that stuff. And that should tell us that Jesus takes all kinds of folks. Doesn’t matter if you’re more emotionally driven, or logic driven. And so Jesus finds him, searches him out, and calls him… and I’m sure Philip had all sorts of questions… Now we don’t know everything that was said between Jesus and Philip… we don’t even know for sure how long they spoke, or how much time they spent together. But apparently Jesus was able to answer his questions and ease his concerns… because the next thing we’re told here is that Philip goes out and finds Nathanael. What we do know with certainty is that Philip was convinced that Jesus was the Messiah… we know that based on what he says to Nathanael. It’s there in verse 45, “… We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law, and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” So right here, we see that Philip’s not anti-religious… in-fact; he’s obviously read the Scriptures, and knowledgeable of them… he’s just not into all the emotionalism and sensationalism, he’s more evidence, and logic driven.
So he goes and tells Nathanael… but Nathanael gives him some push back… he says, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” And there’s a reason that Nathanael says that… at the time Nazareth was a “Podunk Town”… it was insignificant. And it’s actually commendable that Nathanael says this… because he’s not just dogging on the town of Nazareth, he’s in a round a bout way saying, “Ok… Philip… we’re practical guys. We’re not into all that emotionalism and hype. So just because you’re saying something, I’m not just going to jump on a bandwagon… besides… Nazareth is a nowhere town, and nothing ever comes out of there.”