TEEN TREE      OF LIFE

THE TWELVE APOSTLES

Part 6

October 29, 2017

 

BEFORE we begin, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, take a moment to name your sins to God the Father. This will allow you to be filled with the power of The Holy Spirit as you read this booklet (EPH 5:18 & 1JO 1:9). IF YOU HAVE never believed in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have that opportunity right now. Simply tell God the Father that you are believing on His Son Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you make that decision, you are now a believer and will always be a child of God! When you die, you will spend eternity with Him forever in heaven! (JOH 3:16 & ACT 16:31).

 

Continuing with our study, we will look at the end of John’s life. He appears to have retired to Ephesus, but at what time is unknown. He died there, probably about A.D. 98, having outlived nearly all of his friends and companions – and he was old! Polycrates, bishop of Ephesus reported that John died a natural death in Ephesus; Irenaeus recorded that John lingered on in Ephesus until the time of the emperor Traj.

 

Five books of the New Testament have been attributed to John the Apostle: The Gospel, three Epistles, and Revelation, the greatest book in the New Testament on end times’ prophecy. In each case, the traditional view, that John was the author of these books, can be traced to writers in the 2nd century, although neither the Gospel nor the Epistles identify their author by name.

 

When John became old, he trained Polycarp who later became the Bishop/Pastor of Smyrna. This was important because Polycarp was able to carry John’s message to future generations! John’s tomb is thought to be located at Selçuk, a small town in the vicinity of Ephesus. John’s tomb was the site of a fourth-century church, over which the Byzantine Emperor Justinian (AD 482-565) built the splendid basilica of St. John. The ruins of this basilica are still visible in Ephesus today. Legend had it that he was not really dead, just asleep and that the ground where he lay would rise and fall with his breathing and the dust would move. This falsehood comes from the discourse between Peter and Our Lord in JOH 21:21-23: So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” Therefore this saying went out among the brethren that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?” Isn’t it interesting to see how a false message can develop???

It is believed that he merely died of old age. According to “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs” John was the only apostle who escaped a violent death.

 

Now we are going to look at Philip whose name in Greek is Philippos which means “fond of or lover of horses.” Philip, like the first four apostles we’ve studied so far, was also from the city of Bethsaida, in Galilee but we have no information on his family. In fact, little is recorded of Philip in the Scriptures. He had probably gone with Andrew and John to hear the preaching of John the Baptist or they had spoken to him about Jesus as The Long-Expected Savior, like they did with Peter and James; it also could have been that Philip knew about Jesus from His teachings around Galilee. For whatever preconception he had, Philip unhesitatingly complied with the Lord’s request to follow Him: He [Andrew] found first his own brother Simon and *said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which translated means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter). The next day He purposed to go into Galilee, and He found Philip. And Jesus *said to him, “Follow Me.” (JOH 1:41-43)

 

When Philip told Nathanael (a.k.a. Bartholomew) about the Messiah in JOH 1:45-47, we understand more about Philip: 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.” Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!”

 

Philip’s ready acceptance of Jesus, and his statement to Nathanael, seems to imply much knowledge of The Word. “Son of Joseph” may have indicated his familiarity with Jesus’ family since we know that James and John were cousins and Philip – also from Bethsaida – may have had some previous interaction with Jesus. It also indicates the royal line of David as prophesied. Some say that the three episodes of John’s Gospel furnish a consistent character-sketch of Philip as a naïve, somewhat shy, and sober-minded man. As we will see, his direct accounting when the Lord tested him regarding the feeding of the 5,000 demonstrated his rationality, most likely from being business-minded from working in the fishing industry in Bethsaida. So, we have another of the Galilee fishing industry, eager, direct, pragmatic, and full of faith.

 

Philip seems to have held a somewhat prominent place among the apostles. He is mentioned as part of the “inner” and “close” circle of apostles and heads the list of the second quartette of disciples/apostles whenever listed (See MAT 10:2-4; MARK 3:16-19; LUKE 6:14; ACTS 1:13) Philip is usually mentioned with Nathanael.

 

Philip is mentioned as part of four events in John’s Gospel.  First, Philip invited Nathanael to “come and see” Jesus in JOHN 6:5-7. Then, when Jesus was about to feed the 5,000, He asked Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, that these may eat?” And the verse goes on to say, “And this He was saying to test him.” It is believed that this was because the duty of providing food had been committed to Philip although some say it was because Philip was weak in faith. Although Philip’s answer agrees with either supposition, the latter does not align with the first encounter Jesus had with Philip, who showed tremendous faith with little physical evidence.

 

The second time Philip is mentioned was when a group of Greeks, who wanted to meet Jesus, asked him for an introduction. We learned that Andrew was part of this, too.

Philip is one of the four questioners at the beginning of the Upper Room Discourse which is the third event taught in John’s Gospel with him as an integral part. He is the one who asks, Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us opening the way for Jesus’ teaching that to see Him is to see the Father. It also led the way to further teaching about the unity of the Father and the Son: Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? (JOH 14:8-9) This was the fourth event.

 

Philip’s Biblical accounts are in the Gospel of John, which John wrote after all his counterparts were dead. Possibly wanting to include his two friends from youth, Philip and Nathanael (Bartholomew), who were not included in the Synoptic Gospels, John wrote about them. Philip is often confused with the Deacon Philip, who was a great evangelist to the Samaritans, as mentioned above. Philip the apostle was a great teacher in Asia in the area of Phrygia. Hierapolis was the place in which he worked the most, along with Bartholomew. He is said to have also taught in Greece, Western Europe, and Parthia (Iran/Afghanistan).

 

According to “Foxes Book of Martyrs” – Philip labored diligently in Upper Asia and suffered martyrdom at Heliopolis, in Phrygia. He was scourged, thrown into prison, and afterwards crucified in A.D. 54.

{to be continued}

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