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
did not see Jesus and the Father as one.
A Question for the Team
The story is told of a horse-pull in Canada. One horse pulled 9,000 pounds, another 8,000. Together you would expect them to pull 18,000 pounds. Not so! When teamed together, they pulled 30,000 pounds. The principle is called synergism. By definition, the simultaneous action of separate agents working together has a greater total effect than the sum of their individual efforts. More can be done in a team effort than can be accomplished solo. In order for the principle of synergism to work like it should, there has to be teamwork.
Jesus has assembled His team and these eleven had synergism, they will accomplish more, through God’s power, than an army of millions. In John 14, Jesus and His team is sharing their last meal together before Jesus goes to the cross. Like a football coach instructing his team before the big game, Jesus is instructing His team of disciples before the events of His arrest, trial and crucifixion begin.
The scene in John 13:31 - 14:11, Jesus and His disciples are in the upper room and Judas has left the room to go betray Jesus. There are three questions asked by three disciples during this part of the story. The first question came from Peter, "Lord, where are You going?" The second question came from Thomas, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?". The third question, which is actually a demand, comes from Philip, "Lord, show us the father and it is sufficient for us."
The first two questions were answered by Jesus in John 14:6
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through Me.”
The disciples were confused as to where Jesus was exactly going. Jesus told them in verse 13:36 "Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward." The disciples didn’t understand if Jesus was leaving them to go somewhere else or if He was going back to heaven. Jesus then told them in 14:4 "And where I go you know, and the way you know." Thomas then stated they didn’t know where Jesus was going or the way to get there. After Jesus’ statement in John 14:6 the attention shifted from where Jesus was going, to seeing the Father. Enter Philip, these statements created uncertainty, and Philip recognized the problem. Philip could put to rest his anxiety of the coming departure if he could just see the Father. Have you ever had an experience in your Christian life where you experienced uncertainty in your faith? You probably asked the Lord to reveal Himself to you in a special way to ease your anxiety.
This anxiety is created by the unknown and lack of faith in our guidance system. Before I purchased a GPS (Global Positioning System), I always carried detailed maps with me of where I was going. If I went on a trip without a map, the trip seemed longer because I had to rely on the road signs to determine where to go, the map solved that problem. However I still needed land marks to determine where I was on the map. Problem solved when I purchased my GPS. My GPS tells me exactly where I am every step of the way and the estimated time of arrival at my destination. The guess work is gone and now I can simply enjoy the journey. No more hurrying to the next town to find out where I am.
God doesn’t give us His GPS (God Position System), He wants us to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). God wants us in a position that we are totally dependent on Him, and that means not knowing where the next stop is. We have to give up total control and be totally satisfied in Him knowing the journey and not us. Philip wanted to confirm the route Jesus was taking by telling Jesus to show him the Father and he would be content.
Jesus Christ is the physical image of God. God is not a person, He is spirit, and we worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Hebrews 1:1-3 states
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power,
Many of us have this picture of God being an old man and we see Jesus sitting at the Father’s right hand in heaven. This is not an accurate image, the right hand is symbolic for power and authority. Throughout Genesis chapter one, it is stated repeatedly that God created the earth. This would be a big blooper when you read Genesis 1 and Hebrews 1:2. The Hebrews verse states Jesus made the world and the universe. There is on ly one way to make the verses agree with each other and that is to say, Jesus is God in the flesh, he is the God-Man; Matthew 1:23:
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
Hebrews 1:3 you will find the word "express image," The original Greek word is where we get the word for character. The original word meant to inscribe on wood stone or brass, as in the case of minted coins. The character of God was inscribed in the flesh and His name is Jesus. This word also carries the meaning of a precise reproduction in every respect. If you want to know who you really are, in otherwords your character, what you do when you are by yourself with no accountability is who you are. Those thoughts and actions are a precise reproduction of who you are, and praise God, He can instill His character in us when we are born with a new character through Jesus Christ.
At cowboy church, whenever we buy cattle the first thing we do is add our character to those cattle, otherwise called a brand. We inscribe on their hide our ownership, those cattle represent cowboy church. If those cattle were to step in front of a moving car and get hit, cowboy church has been hit. If someone insults those cattle, they have insulted cowboy church. Those cattle are owned by cowboy church, and the inscribed brand sets them apart from other cattle. Likewise, Jesus Christ bearing the brand of God, is God in the flesh. When we insult the word of God, we are insulting God, when we don’t listen to Jesus we are not listening to God. Because of the image of Jesus sitting on the right hand, we have somehow made Him lesser than God. This reasoning becomes like one drop of food coloring in a gallon of water, His word becomes diluted.
Character is who we are and how we view others. Super Bowl XXXIII (1999) was remembered more for "the night before" than for the game itself. On Saturday before Super Bowl XXXIII, safety Eugene Robinson was awarded the NFL’s first Bart Starr Award from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes for high moral character on Saturday afternoon. On Saturday night he was arrested and charged with offering $40 to an undercover police woman in exchange for illicit sexual favor. Falcon’s General Manager had to bail him out of jail. Robinson still started in the game, but the monstrous story may well have contributed to the Falcon’s poor performance in their loss to the Denver Broncos. No matter what award was given to Eugene Robinson, his character will carry the flaw of what happened the night before the super bowl. 1 John 1:5 says there is no darkness at all in Christ, there is no blemish, He is the pure image of God that has not one sliver of darkness.
Jesus wanted to make sure Philip understood that when he saw Jesus, he was looking at God.
John 14:9 "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’?
Jesus didn’t just tell Philip to just believe, like we tell our kids “because I said so and that’s it,” He gave them some meat to chew on:
John 14:9-11 9 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’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.
Jesus told Philip the words He spoke were the same as the Father, if nothing else, believe because of the works performed by Jesus. These works were nothing like the world had ever seen, other than an occasional miracle by the prophets in the Old Testament. The disciples had seen the dead raised, the blind given sight, the lame to walk, and many other miracles. If we do not believe Jesus was God in the flesh, than all fellowship with Him loses it’s significance. On the positive side, believing in Jesus as God means we see God in the fellowship with Jesus.
Philip’s request to see God was not a misguided question, it was just misplaced. Philip believed that such a revelation would solve all his difficulties and doubts. What a strange request that Philip, in the three years he followed Jesus, had not found what he desired. On a positive note, Philip’s request implies that it was in Christ’s power to satisfy his demand. For one whose spiritual eyes are clear, the revelation of the words and the works is indeed "enough."
Jesus’ answer to Philip implies the impossibility of seeing the invisible Father with the eyes of the body, but the Father is seen in Him who is the "express image." Philip expressed a universal desire of mankind to see God (Exodus 33:18). The world desires to see God, but through their own desires they create and fashion idols upon which they can look. It is the arrogance of the human condition to be able to touch and see that which we have faith in. Jesus’ statement,
Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father ( John 12:45, 14:9), is one of the most staggering claims He ever made. The Father is in Jesus and Jesus perfectly reveals Him (1:18). John 14:10 shows where the Father dwells, which is in Jesus. The word for dwells means to stay in the house or remain in place. Jesus is telling us the Father lives inside of Him, henceforth when we accept Christ as Savior, God then dwells inside us. The person we will see in heaven is Jesus, because the Father and Jesus is one.
To see and know the Father, to have irresistible evidence that the Eternal Power is one who has begotten us from himself, and both knows and loves us, is the highest and most sacred yearning of the human heart. The desire is implanted by God himself. Philip, with his fellow-disciples, had not yet learned the sacred truth that they had already had the opportunity of seeing in the life of the God-Man the most explicit manifestation of the Father.
Way Truth and Life
Seeing how the father has been revealed to Philip, let look in more detail at the way to the Father, or to Christ, seeing how Christ is the fullness of the Godhead. Let’s return to the central claim of Jesus (John 14:6), "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." This is the sixth of the seven "I Am" statements found in the Gospel of John.
" 6:48 I Am the bread of life
" 8:12 I Am the light of the world
" 10:9 I Am the door to salvation
" 10:11 I Am the good shepherd
" 11:25 I Am the resurrection and the life
" 14:6 I Am the way, the truth and the life
" 15:1 I Am the true vine
Hunter and I went pheasant hunting with fifteen other hunters one time in Liberal, Kansas. As we walked through the grain fields the pheasant would get spooked and fly up. The only pheasant legal to kill were the male pheasants called roosters, the females are called hens. When a pheasant flies up, the hunter yells out either hen, hen, hen or rooster, rooster, rooster. This alerts the other hunters immediately if it is ok to shoot, the shouting immediately reveals their identity. The seven I Am statements in John shouts; God, God, God! The word that precedes each description is THE. The word "THE" is stating Jesus is the only bread, light, door, shepherd, resurrection, life, way, truth, and vine. Let’s take a look at the way, the truth, and the life.
The disciples had all the information about the Way, but they could not put it together until after the resurrection. Jesus could have stopped the statement with just saying "He is the Way." The word for way means road, there is only one road that leads to God and it is a narrow road, that road (the Way) is called Jesus. The followers of Christ were first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11:26) before that, and still after that, the Christian religion was called the Way:
• Acts 9:2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem
• Acts 19:23 And about that time there arose a great commotion about the Way.
• Acts 22:4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women,
• Acts 24:14 But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.
The Old Testament gives specific instructions concerning the temple and the sacrifices performed at the temple. The priest would enter a room in the temple called "The Holy of Holies." This was the place where the spirit of God dwelt during the times of the temple, and this room was sectioned off with a thick veil. The priest would enter once a year and offer sacrifices for the peoples sins. There was a stringent ritual required for entering the Holy of Holies, the priest that entered had to have a rope tied around his ankle. If the offering was unacceptable to the Lord, the priest would be struck dead and the fellow priests on the other side of the curtain would pull the rope to drag the dead priest out, because they could not enter the room.
When Jesus said He was "the way," the Jews would immediately recognize Jesus was the way into the Holy of Holies. Jesus was grieved that we were shut out from the holiest of all - from the presence of God; for he knew by experience that in that presence there is fullness of joy. But how did he open the Way? Did he pull aside the vail, which we might steal in secretly and easily into the presence of the Father? No; but he offered himself - an offering to satisfy Divine justice and reconcile us to God. "He said, It is finished, and bowed his head and gave up his spirit. And, behold, the curtain of the temple was ripped in two, from top to bottom." It is finished - the punishment of the law is borne - the demands of the law are answered - the Way is finished. Not a shred of the dreadful curtain now remains to stop us from entering the presence of God. The guiltiest - the worst sinner has now liberty to enter in through the torn curtain.
Jesus is the Way because he is the whole Truth about God and man and concerning the way to the Father. The Bible reminds us along with our experience that by nature we are ignorant of the truth. There are many truths which an unconverted man does know. He may know the truths of math and science. He may know many of the common everyday truths; but still it cannot be said that an unconverted man knows the truth, for Christ is the truth. Martin Luther once said the purpose of education is to show man how small he is compared to God. We have taken education to be the end all.
We pound into our kids that it is important to get a good education so they can get a good job. A college education teaches people how to think. There are many people who don’t need college because they already know how to think. Obviously college is a requirement for those who will use that education in their chosen profession like teaching, doctoring and engineering.
When I was building always intrigued me so I got a job as a carpenter and later started to work for myself. One thing that always amazed me is arched brick entries, the brick arches you might find on the front of a house. The reason those arches stay up is because of the middle brick, otherwise called the keystone. Christ can be called the key-stone of the arch of truth. Take away the key-stone of an arch, and the whole arch collapses and becomes a pile of useless bricks. The very same stones may be there, but they are all fallen, smothered, and confused - without order - without end. Just so - take Christ away, and the whole arch of truth may be there; but they are all fallen - without coherence - without order - without end.
Proverbs 4:19 states "the path of the wicked is as darkness; they know not at what they stumble." Once the wicked becomes the saved by the Spirit of God revealed in him, and there is revealed, not a truth, but the truth. That man now has the key-stone into the arch of truth. That man can now have an entryway enter heaven and lead others through the same entryway.
The bottom line truth is, until you have the Spirit of God dwelling inside of you, you are under God’s wrath. The Son of God left the bosom of the Father to bear wrath in our place. Jesus became a servant, that he might obey the will of God instead of sinners. Therefore, we must be without any righteousness, a child of disobedience.
The Bible is truth, look at Jesus’ own view of Scripture. He not only quoted it frequently, but also accepted it as the Word of God. While praying for His disciples, He said, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17). He also told them, “I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law” (Matthew 5:18). Shouldn’t we have the same view of Scripture as our Lord? Spend time in the Bible, it will replenish and refresh your soul. So many people have opinions about the Bible, yet they know nothing of the Bible. I hear many people tell me the Bible contradicts itself, but I have never had one person point out a contradiction to me. Yes there are some things that require more study than other things, but God designed it this way, this is why He said we are to keep seeking.
Without a foundation of truth, we are building on sinking sand. On a hunting trip to the panhandle of Texas one time, Hunter and I stopped at the Red River and walked around. The Red River is known for it’s quick sand, sand that appears firm but once you step on it you start to sink. Quick sand is almost like a liquid, once you step on it you start to sink so fast it creates a downward suction pulling you in even more. I placed a large rock on the quick sand and the rock immediately disappeared. I told Hunter this is how life is, the ground we were standing on was true ground because it could support our weight, but if we stepped on the false ground we would sink. Standing on the word of God is always solid ground, Jesus said “listen to My words and look at my works and you will see the Father and I are one.”
An ancient proverb said:
• Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor, to console him for what he is.
When my dad died we went to the cemetery to pick out a grave site. As we strolled through the cemetery I was looking at the various tombstones. It dawned on me, on every tombstone there is a year of birth, a dash, and a year of death. My dad’s dash lasted seventy eight years, how long will your dash be. In the scope of eternity one hundred years ain’t much. What happens during that dash is up to each one of us. Some people’s dashes are longer than others, but no matter what most dashes barely exceed ninety years.
Here is a list of some unusual life spans of some of God’s creatures:
• Pike: Perhaps the longest lived of all creatures-one was known to have lived for 267 years.
• Tortoises: About 200 years.
• Crocodiles: About 100 years.
• Eagles and Falcons: About 100 years.
• Parrots and Swans: About 80 years.
• Crabs: About 50 years.
• Lions: About 30 years.
• Cattle: Live between 25 and 30 years.
• Pigs: Live up to 20 years.
• Ants: One was kept alive for 15 years.
• Deer: Live between 10 and 15 years.
• Wild Goats: Live between 12 and 14 years.
• Queen Bees: About 5 years.
• Rats and Mice: Live up to 5 years.
• Oysters: About 5 years
• Horses: Live between 20 and 30 years
Is life just while our lungs are full of air on earth? Life is so much more, each person has/had dreams, desires and goals. Somewhere along the way, the dreams died and life took the mundane road. Jesus said in John 10:10 " I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." The original word for "abundantly" means "to have an advantage over." My life would not be near what it is today if I did not have the confidence and reassurance that my life was in the hands of the Creator of the universe, who has promised me, and all who have been born again in Christ, the following:
• Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
And the Lord was kind enough to give me his phone number:
• Jeremiah 33:3 "Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know."
That is life, and Jesus said He was the life! What an amazing thing, you can sit in the passenger seat and let Jesus drive. He has a plan for each one of us, a good plan. Do you carry this confidence and phone number with you? It’s aggravating every time I get a new cell phone, I have to reprogram the phone numbers into the new phone or wait until someone calls me so I can save their number in the database. How wonderful the fact, every time I have a new experience in life, or a new disaster I don’t have to reprogram the Lord’s phone number. I can call upon Him anywhere at anytime and He will show me great and mighty things.
Growing up I never had Chinese food, so therefore I never missed it, nor did I realize what I was missing. As an adult I enjoy Chinese food at least once every other week. The same is true of Christ, if a person has never tasted the goodness from Christ or learned of His character, they don’t know what they are missing. There are two ways to walk in this world, the worlds way or God’s way. Look back over your life see how you have walked according to the course of this world. You have always been like a man swimming with the stream - never like a man swimming against the current.
When I go fly fishing, I never like to get in the deep water, I like to stay in water up to my waist where I have a good footing and can get to the shore quickly if I need to. God wants us to stay in the middle of the stream where our feet can’t touch; He wants us to be dependent on Him. Struggles are what keep us pure and dependent of Him. Too many of us stay in the shallow water of our faith, never truly wanting to let go and let God. Philip wants to be able to see God and that would be like staying close to the shore, walking by sight and not by faith.
Many people’s hearts have turned against the commandments of God. They feel going to church be a weariness - instead of calling it a delight and honorable. If ever you tried to keep the commandments of God - if ever you tried to keep you eyes from lawful desires, your tongue from words of anger, or gossiping, or bitterness, your heart from malice, and envy, and covetousness - if ever you have tried this, and I assume most unconverted men have tried it - if every you have tried this - did you not find it impossible? It’s like eating a box of crackers without water. Did you not find a struggle against yourself? O how plain that you are dead - not born again! Marvel not that that Christ says you must be born again. You must be joined to Christ, for Christ is the life.
If we all had a choice, we would choose the path that we could see and completely understand with the trail clearly marked. The Christian life is about binocular vision (seeing one image of Christ with both eyes) not monocular vision (having one eye on the world and one eye on Christ). We can’t keep one foot in hot water and the other foot in cool water and say we are warm. Accept Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, listen to Him, worship Him and give Him your life.
John 20:29 “Blessed are those who have not seen Me and yet have believed.”
Christian legend says Philip preached the Gospel in Phrygia (west central Turkey) before dying or being martyred there at Hieropolis. Like so many of the other disciples, he faithfully served Christ, and realized he had seen the Father in Jesus, he didn’t waver or back down, he gave his life to the God man that changed his life from the ordinary to the extra ordinary.