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Philip could have been a fisherman and hailed from Bethsaida, the town of Andrew and Peter (Jn 1:44). He was formerly a disciple of John the Baptist. After John introduced Jesus to his disciples, Jesus found and called Philip to follow him (Jn 1:43). Philip immediately recognized Jesus as the Messiah. He was enthusiastic to introduce Jesus to Nathanael by telling him: “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets” (Jn 1:45). So, from the very beginning of his discipleship, Philip was sharing the good news of Jesus’ ministry with others. Though Philip is not recorded in the Bible as professing faith directly to Jesus like Peter, Nathaniel, or Thomas, he was convinced from the very beginning that Jesus was the Messiah.

Scholars assume Philip as the overseer of supplies and food for Jesus and his apostles. Before Jesus fed the 5,000 listeners by the multiplication of five loaves and two fish, it was to Philip that Jesus asked, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” Philip answered: “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little bit” (Jn 6:5-7).

Unlike the Synoptic gospels and the Acts of the Apostles that mention Philip’s name only among the list of the Apostles (Mt 10:2-4, Mk 3:14-19, Lk 6:13-16, and Acts 1:13- 16), the Gospel of John gives more details of Philip:
1. “Philip was from Bethsaida, the town of Andrew and Peter” (Jn 1:43).
2. Jesus found Philip and called him (Jn 1:44).
3. Philip found his friend Nathanael and introduced Jesus to him (Jn 1:45-46).
4. Jesus tested Philip before the multiplication of bread and fish by asking, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” to which Philip replied, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little bit” (Jn 6:5-7).
5. Some Greeks who came to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover came to Philip, asking his help to see Jesus. Philip, along with Andrew, notified Jesus about it (Jn 12:20-22).
6. At the Last Supper, Philip said to Jesus, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus responded, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? …” (Jn 14:8-9).

Here are features of Philip the Apostle:
1. Jesus reached out to Philip and said to him, “Follow me” (Jn 1:43).
2. Philip encouraged Nathanael to follow Jesus (Jn 1:45-46).
3. The Synoptic Gospels paired Philip with Bartholomew (Nathanael) (Mt 10:3, Mk 3:18, Lk 6:14).
4. Based on Jesus’ question to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” it is assumed that he oversaw food and supplies for Jesus and his team.
5. The Apostle Philip is often confused with Philip the Deacon in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 8:5; 8:26-40; 21:8).

Following Pentecost, Philip is thought to have spread his teachings in Greece, Syria, and Phrygia (modern-day Turkey) before being martyred in Hierapolis around 80 AD, where he met an upside-down crucifixion. The Catholic Church celebrates his feast on 03 May, the Armenian Church on 17 November, and the Coptic Church on 18 November (http://saintsresource.com/philip-the-apostle). Philip’s presumed remains were moved to the Basilica of the Twelve Apostles in Rome, which was originally dedicated to Saints Philip and James the Less. So, the Church celebrates the feasts of both these apostles on the same day. (https://stphilipsoconnor.org.au/story/ saint_philip)


As a disciple of John the Baptist, Philip believed Jesus was the Messiah, even when he met Jesus. Just as Philip introduced Jesus to Nathanael, let us introduce Jesus to others as well.

Philip’s response to the feeding of the 5,000 exemplifies a balance between practical concerns and religious belief. Christians need to combine practical wisdom with faith, relying on God’s power to provide and perform miracles even in difficult situations.

Philip’s role in connecting the Greeks and Jesus highlights the significance of bridging diverse cultures and communities. Christians have a duty to be inclusive, dismantling barriers and enabling diverse individuals to encounter Christ.

Philip’s interactions with Jesus, especially his question at the Last Supper, demonstrate a desire for deeper understanding and clarity about faith. Christians can freely explore and deepen their faith, confident that it will reveal more about God.

Philip’s martyrdom ultimately emphasizes the theme of sacrifice and unwavering dedication to the faith, even in the face of death. Christians are reminded to stay committed to their faith, even if it means making sacrifices for the sake of spreading the Gospel.

In brief, Apostle Philip’s life serves as a model for Christians with his willingness to follow Jesus, inquisitive nature, role as a cultural bridge, practicality, faith, and sacrificial actions. By following Philip’s lead, believers can amplify their faith journey, promoting a proactive, inclusive, and devoted approach to their relationship with Christ and their impact in the world.


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