Summary: When it comes to sharing the Gospel we don’t need to have all the answers. We just need to be willing to invite not-yet-believers to “Come and See”.
Philip – the penny drops … eventually
We all know that sharing the Gospel and telling others about Jesus is an essential part of being a disciple of Jesus.
After His resurrection Jesus commanded the eleven to go and make disciples … baptising them and teaching them to do everything I have commanded you. The disciples weren’t to keep the message to themselves – they had to pass it on.
Just before His ascension Jesus was even more specific in directing His disciples. You will be My witness in Jerusalem … and to the ends of the earth. The ends of the earth still need to hear the Gospel so this directive is just as much a part of our walk with Jesus today as it was back then.
But knowing what we should do ... and actually doing it ... can be two separate events can’t it.
We know people who don’t love Jesus are destined for an external separation from God.
We also know that we have a message of hope and transformation.
We know that Jesus promises to go with us as we speak the message.
So why don’t we just open our mouths, say what we are on about, and spread the Word?
Let’s stop and think about it for the moment. What is the number 1 reason that people say stops them from evangelising and sharing their faith?
The answer that is often given at this point is fear … specifically the fear that someone will ask us a question we cannot answer. Does that ring true for you?
You want to share the Gospel but you’re afraid of the difficult questions.
• Why does a God of love let bad things happen?
• Do all religions lead to God?
• Is there a conflict between Science and Christianity?
• Why can’t God just overlook our sin?
• How can Jesus be man and God at the same time?
They’re some of the hard questions aren’t they? How can you be a good witness for Jesus if you are going to get stumped at some point? You want to share the Gospel, but you don’t want to look foolish, so you end up being quiet.
That’s how it works at times, doesn’t it. Not for all of us. Not all the time. But it happens. Today we are going to have a closer look at Philip the disciple and see what we can learn about being disciples of Jesus. What we are going to see is that you can be a disciple without having all the answers.
Let’s start at John 6:1-7.
Read verses 1-4. This sets the scene.
Read verse 5. When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd come toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”.
Why did Jesus ask this question specifically of Philip?
(Jesus) asked this only to test (Philip) for (Jesus) already had in mind what He was going to do.
By this time Philip had seen Jesus perform many miracles. But in this specific situation Philip couldn’t see the answer coming from Jesus. All Philip could see was a problem – a huge problem.
You can just visualise Philip calculating the cost in his head -- and every time another ten or fifteen people walk up, he adds another denarius to his total. Finally he stammers in verse 7
Eight month’s wages (the original says ‘200 denarii’) would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite! That’s a pretty precise answer … 200 denarii ... 200 days wages wouldn’t even be enough … but it is an answer that totally forgets how Jesus works. Phillip is a disciple ... but he doesn’t have all the answers.
Lets turn to John 14:1-8
Read verses 1-4 ... this gives us the focus of the discussion.
Then Thomas butts in ... read verse 5-7.
The way has been shown ... Jesus is the way.
But still Philip has a question ... verse 8
Philip says, Lord, show us the Father.
How that question must have pained Jesus. We are only one day away from the crucifixion. Christ has been with these men for over three years.
Day in and day out.
Living with them.
Laughing and crying with them.
Jesus had shown these men that He was God. Yet here is Philip, a leader among the twelve, still completely missing the obvious. He doesn’t have all the answers.
Which raises a real issue.
In God’s family you can be a disciple without having all the answers ... but does that make you ineffective?
Turn to John 1:43-51 (Read)
What is happening here? Well this is Philip ... Philip who does not have all the answers ... bringing another disciple to Jesus. In the process of doing so technically Philip gets it wrong.