Today we are celebrating All Saints Day. It is a great day when we remember people who believed in Jesus as their savior and departed from this world. All of us have people who we remember who are already with the Lord. Actually it is very important for us, because we want to follow the steps of maybe a father, an uncle , an ant, brother or sister who are already with the Lord who were very faithful to him. They are examples to follow.
Some of the saints of all time are the Apostles of Jesus. The eleven who walked with the Lord when He was on earth. If we could choose a favorite apostle which one would you choose?
Peter, John, James, they are the most popular.
What about Phillip?
You could say, what did Phillip do? Who was Phillip?
Philip (his name means 'lover of horses')(lover of trucks?)
He was one of the 12 Apostles (Matthew. 10:4; Mk. 3:16; Luke. 6:14-16) and in each he is the 5th Apostle listed.
In (John 1:43-46) Philip told Nathanael that they had found the Messiah and that he was from Nazareth. When Nathanael replied “can anything good come from Nazareth?”
This because Nazareth was a bad neighborhood. Philip simply said “Come and see.”
In (John. 6:5-7) before the miraculous feeding of the multitude, Jesus tested Philip by asking,
“Where will we buy bread for these people to eat?”
Philip failed the test by replying, "Eight months' wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!"
Phillip wasn’t ready yet.
In John 12:20
20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
Some Greeks needed to talk to Jesus, but they were not from the right race, from the right citizenship. They were Greeks and spoke Greek, Jesus belonged to the Jews who spoke Armenian. So they went to Phillip, whose name was probably a mix of Greek and Jewish. Phillip helped translating and been the bridge to connect Jesus with this foreigners.
In (Jn. 14:8-9) before Jesus is arrested he tells his disciples that
“If you really knew me you would know my Father as well. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
But Philip's response again shows a lack of faith when he asks
“Lord show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus sternly rebukes him and says
“Philip, don’t you know me, even after I have been with you for such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”
Jesus seemed to think that Philip should have had more faith. After 3 years of living with Jesus and seeing his miracles and listening to his Word, we don't understand why Philip needed to see the Father in order to believe.
We could say, Phillip, you were with Jesus and you couldn’t see it?
BUT it happens to us too, we have all of creation to show us the Father and we still don't live as if we really believe!
Jesus gave bread to the 5000; He will provide for us. We can share what we have with others, instead of saving it all for ourselves like the Jews, knowing that Jesus will provide.
What a gift we have in God’s Word an account of Philip and what the Holy Spirit did through him to spread God’s mercy and the Good News to many.
Through Philips life God talks to his church today.
Phillip reminds us that the Gift of God of Eternal life is for all without an exception, even for the one we think least.
Acts 6 tells us that when the church was growing and some people from a different back ground came to the meeting with the Jewish Christian church felt neglected because all spoke Jewish, but this special group spoke Greek. None was paying attention to all these new comers to the community.
6 In those days the group of followers was getting larger. Greek-speaking Jews in the group complained against the Jews living in the country around Jerusalem. The Greek-speaking Jews said that their women whose husbands had died were not taken care of when the food was given out each day. 2 So the twelve missionaries called a meeting of the many followers and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the Word of God to hand out food. 3 Brothers, choose from among you seven men who are respected
Phillip was one of the seven chosen to serve this Greeks outsiders. They were called deacons. So Phillip was appointed to serve the tables and to feed the poor among the new believes. You could say. I am not like Phillip. I do not speak Greek, or I have not been chosen to serve the tables. But maybe just like Phillip you were not chosen to teach the Bible in the church or to preach on Sundays, but the Lord always gives us tasks to do in the church.
All of them stayed in Jerusalem growing in their faith. They did not want o leave. But remember what Jesus said in Matthew 28:19
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
And because they did not want to leave Jerusalem, God sent persecution, and they had to run away for their lives.
Phillip went to Samaria. Samaria a place where Jewish people, pure religious people never went to because this Samarians were half/pure. They mixed with other races. Jewish people were very zealous. They did not allowed Samaritans in Jerusalem. Samaritans could not get in the temple to worship God. But Phillip told them about Jesus the Savior. They believed even Peter had to go to visit them and prayed for them and the Lord sent the Holy Spirit to them. They, the Samaritans believed Jesus is the only Son of God.
26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”).
Some other day Phillip after preaching in Samaria, went to Gaza on the road to Jerusalem and talked to an Ethiopian. This Ethiopian was reading a passage from the Bible.
32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:
“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth.
We need to understand that this man had many things against him. First he was a foreigner, not from the Jews, he was black, different race. And second, even bigger problem, he was an eunuch. He was just half man.
The Eunuch asked, what do I need to be saved?
Phillip answer, you need to be believe and be baptized.
“Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?”
Wow, Phillip said nothing. The Eunuch wa baptized and is believed this is how the church grew in Ethiopia.
39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.
The Phillip was taken by the Holy Spirit from one place to talk to an Ethiopian. Just like that. God transported him in a powerful way.
Tradition says he in his later years when he lived in Caesarea had 4 daughters with the gift of prophesy. He died by crucifixion and like Peter he was crucified backward.
You can tell me, mi life pastor is very different, I am retired, I am a teacher, I am a farmer, or something different. I can not relate to Phillip.
So what do we learn, what do we have in common with the life of Phillip the Deacon, Phillip the Evangelist, Phillip the Apostle?
I am sure Phillip was not ready to be there interpreting for the Greeks who wanted to talk to Jesus in john 20. He did not want o serve the tables, he wanted to be seated at the front table like Peter, and John and teach the word.
But the Holy Spirit who is the engine in the Christian was pushing Phillip to do what needed to be done.
What is the Holy Spirit pushing you to do?
Maybe invite your cousins to church, maybe teaching some children the catechism, maybe…..
Where does it end?
Who are the Greeks today, like in the time of Phillip?
That is really easy, just look around. The Lord want us to go and reach out not only among our own race, your race, but beyond, to Latinos, to Blacks, to Punjabis, to Chinese?
Go into the world the Bible says. You could say, but Phillip was Bilingual. I am not. But the truth is that many, many of this immigrants coming to America have children who are Americans. This 2, 3, 4 , 5 generation speak English and sometimes only English.
You could ask me, how are you sure Jesus wants them in heaven?
Listen to the word of the Lord.
9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
We celebrate All Saints Day. Amen