The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me…” Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” — John 1:43,45 (ESV)
How exciting this must have been! This is at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, before Jesus became a target of persecution of the Jewish religious leaders and before he was well-known throughout the land. Philip was probably one of the two disciples of John the Baptist who, when they heard their leader remark that Jesus was the Lamb of God (a few verses earlier), immediately turned to follow Jesus (Andrew was the other disciple).
Assuming that I am right about Philip being one of John’s disciples, this implies that Philip was spiritually alert and looking for how God was moving in his day, trying to be on the cutting edge, as many of my readers are today. Philip was a “river rat” (insider term for those who are looking for what God is up to today)! We can guess that between his leader’s testimony about Jesus, and the words he heard Jesus speak during the day that he spent with him, Philip believed in his heart that Jesus was the Messiah promised by the prophets. But to be called by the Messiah to be his disciple — this was too good to believe! Who knew what awesome things lay ahead for someone on the inner circle of the Messiah?!
Philip, not wanting to keep this amazing find to himself, went to find Nathanael, who was probably a close friend and one who shared in his hunger to be on the cutting edge of what God was doing. Jesus was getting ready to leave town, and if Nathanael hurried, perhaps he too would be invited to be a disciple of Jesus. While Nathanael’s response to Philip was lukewarm, he nonetheless went with Philip, and when he met Jesus, was immediately astonished at Jesus’ insight into Nathanael’s heart, and followed Jesus from that point onward.
Philip’s example shows the power of our enthusiasm for Jesus to draw others in. Sometimes our theology gets so complicated that we get away from the simplicity of faith and the joy we have found in Jesus. We need to regularly draw ourselves back to the basics of faith — Jesus invites us to walk with Him through the adventures of life and in incredible intimacy with God! Like Philip, we can share with great excitement what an incredible discovery we have made, and invite others to come and see what we have found.
Originally posted on February 8, 2010