Summary: Philip with the eyes of a horse

Philip The Horse Lover With Horse Eyesight


Philip was with Jesus longer than most of the disciples. A primary characteristic of Philip included his eyesight. Philip could see a problem, and his primary problem was he wanted to see. Philip was from Bethsaida, the same town as Andrew and Peter. In John 1:43-46 Jesus found Philip and Philip could see this was the One who Moses and the prophets wrote about. Philip told Nathanael, which Nathanael asked "can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip’s replied "Come and see."

Some Greek men once came to see Jesus, they approached Philip with their request and Philip couldn’t see the answer, he could only see the problem. Philip approached Andrew, then they both approached Jesus (John 12:22). Philip’s had two primary defining moments. The first was the feeding of the 5000 when all he could see was they didn’t have enough money to feed 15,000 plus people (John 6:7). The other moment was in John 14:7 when Philip asked Jesus to let them see the heavenly Father. This account will be the focus discussion in this chapter because we are all like Philip; we desire to see Jesus to satisfy our faith.

The name Philip means "horse lover," like Philip, horses have a unique dependence on sight. A horse is one of the few animals that have a 350 degree field of vision. A horse does have two blind spots, one directly in front of their face and the other directly behind them. When a horse is approached from the front he will raise his head to focus. Likewise, when a horse is approached from the rear, he is easily startled and will sometimes kick the object behind him.

Horses have two types of vision, binocular and monocular. Mono means one, meaning a horse can use his vision to see different images from each eye. When Philip asked Jesus if he could see the Father, he was using his monocular vision. The only problem is, humans don’t have monocular vision, we have binocular vision. A human can see only one thing at a time with both eyes. Philip was trying to use one eye to see heaven, and the other to see earth.

Take a pair of binoculars and place them up to your eyes. Using both eyes to look through each lens, you see one image. However, if the adjustment is too wide this will result in two images and give a person a headache. Imagine those binoculars are our spiritual eyes. When our field of vision gets too wide we start to see double images and can no longer move forward. When a horse uses binocular vision he will have his head up and both ears perked, he is focused on the object in front. Jesus wants us to use our binocular vision and keep our eyes and ears focused on Him and His word.

Vision or visual acuity is tested by reading a Snellen eye chart at a distance of 20 feet. By looking at lots of people, eye doctors have decided what a "normal" human being should be able to see when standing 20 feet away from an eye chart. If you have 20/20 vision, it means that when you stand 20 feet away from the chart you can see what a "normal" human being can see. In other words, if you have 20/20 vision your vision is "normal" -- a majority of people in the population can see what you can see at 20 feet.

If you have 20/40 vision, it means that when you stand 20 feet away from the chart you can only see what a normal human can see when standing 40 feet from the chart. That is, if there is a "normal" person standing 40 feet away from the chart, and you are standing only 20 feet away from the chart, you and the normal person can see the same detail. 20/100 means that when you stand 20 feet from the chart you can only see what a normal person standing 100 feet away can see. 20/200 is the cutoff for legal blindness in the United States.

You can also have vision that is better than the norm. A person with 20/10 vision can see at 20 feet what a

normal person can see when standing 10 feet away from the chart.

Hawks, owls and other birds of prey have much more acute vision than humans. A hawk has a much smaller

eye than a human being but has lots of sensors (cones) packed into that space. This gives a hawk vision that is

eight times more acute than a human’s. A hawk might have 20/2 vision! A horse has 20/33 vision, meaning a

horse can see at 20 feet what a human can see at 33 feet. Philip was showing he had 20/200 vision, because he

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