Philip And Thomas A Case Study
I want to highlight these two Disciples of Yeshua, later called Apostles or Emissaries in Yeshua’s apostolic team. Of the four Good News writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, only John mentions these two apostles and something of their interaction with Yeshua and His with them. They are featured in a way that gives me some inkling or understanding of the way we need to be prepared for our end times purpose and faith as they were.
John 1:29-42. Philips
Story.At this point in time, Yeshua may have been ministering for 12 months or more after His baptism by John.
Andrew, who was one of John’s disciples with another disciple followed Yeshua and spent time with Him. The next day he gets his brother Simon (Peter), and takes him to Yeshua. These two go back to their business of fishing as usual. V43-51. Now Yeshua, the next day heads of into the Galilee and is looking for Philip. He finds him and says follow me. Philip then finds Nathaniel and takes him to see Yeshua, the One he says Moses and the prophets spoke about, He is Yeshua of Nazareth.
Philip is the first of Yeshua’s disciples to be specifically sought out, and to be called out to be a follower of the One he firmly believed was the Messiah, the Prophet like unto Moses, the One all Israel was waiting for. There is very little information about Philip given to us, but what is, is poignant, purposeful and helpful for us. We do know he was hungry for, looking for, waiting for and hoping that the fulfilment of His coming would be in his day. He believed that the restoring of the Kingdom to Israel was real.
He believed the Messiah, the King of Israel was coming. It was a passion of his, he was a seeker after the prophetic fulfilment of Scripture, and was one to impress it upon others around him. An important ingredient in one of Yeshua’s disciples. Yeshua was searching for Philip because Philip was searching for the Messiah and His Kingdom. He was also a disciple of John the Immerser and fore runner of Yeshua. That was radical commitment to one who was a headache and a rebel to the current religious system, and his father, Zechariah, was a believing priest in that system.
Passover was near. Passover is the doorway into the Kingdom of Elohim. The Festivals are the promise of the Father of a Heavenly Kingdom being established here on earth in Yeshua. His disciples were to be the voice, the power, the authority and representatives of that Kingdom in a day to come.
Were they ready, did they understand the reason why He had chosen them? Not in the least! They had a lot to learn and to have changed in their lives. Here is one such challenge and lesson. Who is the prime candidate to receive this challenge? Philip! Why Philip?
We know Philip is a faithful seeker of truth and the Kingdom. He is a strong believer in Moses and the Torah (Law). But for some reason Yeshua wants to test him, challenge him, see how he will respond to that which confronts him.
Something obviously needed to change in the man, but what?
Yeshua asks the question
Where can we buy bread so that the people may eat?
Philip quickly calculates; nearly a whole years wages wouldn’t even give them a little each. He had no answer to the dilemma, what the Master was asking was not reasonable or practicable in the circumstances. He could do the sums - send them away he says. He didn’t say, “You know what to do, I trust You to come up with the answer and meet the need”. I’m sure Philip was just like us, practical, logical, with lots of common sense and careful with his money. We are talking about or up to 10,000 people. That’s a lot of bread! But Yeshua wanted him to learn about faith, stepping out, trusting, believing and rising to the call of Kingdom life. Someone else has said about Philip – “a man who new to much arithmetic to be adventurous.”
I’m sure Yeshua was wanting the disciples to understand that there is the divine way as well as the common sense way when it comes to meeting peoples needs or rising to a new challenge. Sometimes common sense must give way to divine sense or obedience to the voice that leads us out into a bigger world than we have been used to.
Yeshua and the twelve have come to Jerusalem to celebrate Pesach (Passover). Here we have the interesting little insertion that there were some Greek believers in Yeshua who had come to celebrate the Feast. They desperately wanted to have an occasion to meet with Yeshua personally. So who did they go to, to get the favour of an introduction? Philip! Why? Well Philip is a Greek name, even though he was of Jewish parents. He was also from Bethsaida, which had a large Greek population. Yeshua had also done a lot of miracles
in Bethsaida, but the city rejected Him and He pronounced a woe or curse over that city (Matthew 11:21). But these men were some who must have believed and wanted Philips help to meet their request.
Y’Hovah knows how to use our heritage, our background, maybe even our family name to cause people to gravitate to us for answers, assistance, introduction to the Messiah or the Messianic way. We need to be open and expecting.
John 11:1-16. Thomas’ Story – The Tried And True
Here again we find that only John mentions anything about the disciple Thomas and his encounters with Yeshua. Johns writings are about things eternal, spiritual and the Kingdom. Things we need to be aware of at the end of the age. When Yeshua says he is going to Lazarus, the disciples all said, but Rabbi, the Jewish leaders were trying to stone you to death there, why are you going up again (v8). Then it was Thomas who said to the disciples, “Let us go to, so that we may die with Him,”.
Thomas wasn’t a man full of fear and doubts, he was totally committed to Messiah Yeshua and His purposes and was willing to lay down his life for his Friend and Saviour.
All the apostles were full of doubt and uncertainty and probably fear as to what was ahead of them in Jerusalem, but Thomas led the way into positive unfailing commitment.
Thomas And Philip - Think Bigger Than The Present And Prepare For The Future
The next scene is at the final Pesach or Passover meal before Yeshua is taken away from them in crucifixion. A celebration of the sacrifice and the price He paid for theirs and our salvation.
Thomas and Philip are pressing the point and needing to understand what Yeshua is talking about and referring to in His instructions to them at this Pesach celebration. They are desperate to understand the answer to Peters question as well.
This chapter and the following four chapters are full of information that is crucial for the disciples to hear, embrace and understand. The coming trauma of Yeshua’s captivity and cruel death and the eternal consequences of what is coming upon their lives, upon Jerusalem and the entire world, is being discussed here. The Apostles cannot put it into context now, cannot understand its meaning and are unaware of the nightmare they are about to live out over the next 8-10 days. (See Luke 18:31-34)
Yeshua said I am leaving you, I’m going to the Father and you know the way, and you can’t follow Me now but you will later. Everything was so cryptic and full of euphemisms that they were bewildered, feeling insecure and like they were being abandoned. But they were learning about love, a new kind of love, a love that will die for each other and their Messiah and the message of the Kingdom of God, just as Yeshua was about to do.
Thomas exclaims, “Adonai, we don’t know where you are going , and we don’t know the way.”
Philip chimes in, “Adonai, show us the Father and we will be satisfied”
All the answers to their questions and fears are there in what Yeshua is saying. But their eyes, ears or understanding is blank. They are completely in the dark about what is coming tomorrow and what it means for their future and that of Israel.
This, our Messiah and King, the promised prophet of Moses, the restorer of the Kingdom to Israel is saying He is leaving and He will send another Comforter and Helper to us, and you are to follow and keep the commandments as I have taught them to you. This obedience will be proof of your love and the Father will then accept you and love you in return. None of this is making very much sense to them at this moment But things were going to get a whole lot worse before they get better.
The meal is finished, they go out into the night to the Mount of Olives – and then the soldiers and the religious leaders arrive to arrest Yeshua. The disciples flee in fear and the drama unfolds into the death and execution of their King, their Messiah, their leader. The hope of all their dreams is in tatters, fear and confusion overwhelm them.
This was their experience pre-crucifixion and their level of understanding about things eternal and the Kingdom of Elohim and thefuture that lie ahead of them. But for this future they were chosen. Do you hear what I am saying? “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach is saying to Messiah’s Communities.”
John 20:19-31. Thomas The Transformed
Thomas was no different from the other disciples at the time. They were all full of fear, doubts and without understanding. V8-9. They were totally confused, they could not put their past couple of years into the context of their future as told them by Yeshua. They are all behind locked doors and don’t know what to do next.
Thomas needed exactly what the others had had, an encounter with Yeshua the Messiah, a revelation of the resurrected King. I want to see Him with my own eyes just like you have! Eye witness proof of the resurrection was essential to the future of their message and the success of their ministry and the coming Kingdom. Yeshua’s entire ministry and the veracity of the whole Torah and the Tanak (old Testament) was dependent on eye witness proof of the resurrection from the dead of Yeshua the Messiah.
“Thomas, do not be unbelieving but believe”
From that day on and after Shavuot or Pentecost they became a totally different group of people. They were full of faith and were totally confident of their calling, purpose and their future. We all need a personal revelation or understanding, an encounter with Yeshua, not only as our personal Saviour who rose from the dead, but as the only One who can lead us into our Kingdom purpose and understanding of our future service.
Yeshua’s Second Coming And The End Of This Age
What about us? Where are you at?
If we are strong, confident and understanding of what the Scriptures teach about the tribulations to come upon this world in which we live, then our faith and knowledge will prepare us for our tribulation message and future ministry in the millennial Kingdom to come. Be faith filled now and we won’t be in fear and confusion when satans rage is released on the world and Y’Hovah’s seven seals, trumpets and bowls are poured out in judgement on Babylon, the false religious system of todays end time world.
To walk in obedience to His Word, His Will, His commands is to walk in His love. His love will protect, His Ruach will empower, we will see the fulfilment of all Y’Hovah’s promises. He has led us this far and we will be successful and fruitful in that which lies ahead. Think bigger than the present and prepare for the future. We cannot be small minded, we have to think and be as big as the task that Y’Hovah puts before us, and to be sure we do it His way. We are called to lay down our lives for the Kingdom of Elohim and for all those He wants us to minister to. Will there be sacrifice and cost? Yes! But He has also given us the Ruach HaKodesh and the great love of the Father.
Yeshua returned to see the disciples the second time, and it was eight days later and Thomas was there. Eight is the number that speaks of new beginnings, new found purpose. Y’Hovah is faithful to His covenant promise and gives empowerment for the task ahead. The old self and its fears and flesh gone and renewed in the Ruach and His power and presence.
“Thomas, do not be unbelieving but believe”