The Cloud of Witnesses
Former title Lessons From the People of the Bible
Lesson 1: Philip – Followed Jesus
Meeting Jesus is a life-changing experience.
Philip was going about his normal daily activities when Jesus approached him and said, “Follow Me”. There must have been something irresistible about that invitation. We don’t read of any hesitation – just immediate obedience.
It’s also interesting that he came from Bethsaida. The village that Jesus was later to lament over because of the unbelief of most of the inhabitants. Obviously Philip, like Andrew and Peter who also came from the same village, were exceptions.
Philip must have suppressed his questions and doubts in the belief that they would be answered in due course. He was prepared to follow first and allow God to reveal the answers he needed when the time was right.
Philip was so excited about his newfound rabbi that he went off and sought out his friend Nathaniel. The fact was Philip was now a follower of Jesus with an all-consuming passion, and because it was transforming his life and future goals, he couldn’t keep it to himself. What more natural thing was there for him to do than to tell his friend all about his good news? He didn’t know ‘you aren’t supposed to talk about religion or politics…’ – all he knew was that good news was for sharing with others.
Isn’t it interesting how we can spend hours discussing the latest All Blacks win, our new car purchase or the latest addition to our family but when it comes to telling others about our relationship with Jesus Christ, it all becomes too hard and embarrassing.
I love Nathaniel’s response – Can anything good come from there? (i.e. Nazareth) He wasn’t going to be as gullible as Philip. He wasn’t going to take Philip’s word at face value. But was Philip put off by the apparent rebuff? Not at all.
He showed that he was totally unthreatened by Nathaniel’s retort. “That’s O.K. You don’t have to take my word for it – check Him out for yourself.” I love that. It’s one of many things I have learned over the years – there is no need to feel threatened by people’s response to the sharing of my faith. I’ve also come to realise that there is so much ignorance about true Christianity that most people respond from an uninformed position. However, there is no need for us to become defensive.
For example, if someone challenges me with the statement – I don’t believe in God, I am able to reply – Please describe to me the God you don’t believe in – because I probably don’t believe in that God either.
We need to allow them to express their views and questions, and then, like Philip, encourage them to check Jesus out for themselves.
Philip would say to us today...
When we decide to follow Jesus, it is the most natural thing in the world to tell others about it. Regardless of who they are, Jesus can make a huge difference in their lives. Don’t be put off by their apparent lack of interest – invite them to check Jesus out. They will not be disappointed when they do.
Father, please give me more courage to share with others the joy and difference a personal vibrant relationship with You has made in my life.
Luke 8:26-39; John 4:28-39; Romans 10:9-17.
What does it mean to ‘follow’ Jesus?
How can we ‘make’ disciples?
Why did Philip go and tell Nathaniel about Jesus?