Philip – the Organizer

Searching His Word
 Seeking His Heart

Now, we look at the next four disciples who are grouped together, beginning with Philip.

Don’t confuse Philip the apostle with Philip the deacon. Two different men.

We first see Philip in the area of the Jordan River listening to John the Baptist. Andrew and John have begun to follow Jesus.

The next day, Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” John 1:43

This is the first time we hear those famous words from Jesus, “Follow me.” Philip had a willing, receptive heart and was even ready to go back to Galilee and share the good news with his friend Nathaniel. Philip told Nathaniel,

“We have found the one Moses wrote about in the law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” John 1:45

It’s obvious that Philip has been a student of the Law. We’ll hear more of that discussion when we study Nathaniel next week.

The next time we hear from Philip is at the feeding of the 5,000. Jesus says to Philip,

“Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” John 6:5

John lets us know that Jesus said that to test him. Perhaps Philip tends to the material needs of the disciples, arranges for meals, the organizer, or as the author John MacArthur says, “the bean counter.”

Philip is already busy figuring and counting. He says,

“Eight months wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” John 6:6

Imagine Philip’s surprise when Jesus eventually multiplies the little that Andrew came up with!


Much later, when Jesus and the disciples walk into Jerusalem in a triumphal entry, many Jews from around the world are there to celebrate Passover. Some Greeks approach Philip asking to see Jesus. Philip seems to have trouble knowing if this is acceptable and runs to Andrew. The two of them go to Jesus to report the request. Of course, Jesus offers any to come to him and reminds them they are here to serve.

The last time we hear from Philip is at the last supper. Jesus has just said,

“If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:7

Then Philip turns right around and says,

“Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” John 14:8

Jesus is pretty frustrated with this. Isn’t that what he was just telling them? You’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father?

Makes you wonder how patient the Lord has to be with us. We pray; we study, we go to church, and do good deeds, and yet we act like we are clueless. Still, the Lord can take us, warts and all, and use us for His glory.

Philip, like the others, did come to understand the cross, the resurrection, the command to go, make disciples. He won many to the Lord in Asia Minor and was martyred by stoning eight years later. 

~ Joyce ~