Mercy Ablaze: Genesis Part 4

Yesterday I punctured the kid’s inflatable pool. In retrospect, it was a pretty dumb idea to drag it over the chain link fence to from the side yard to the backyard. Fortunately Jude and I were able to patch it with some T-Rex tape (as advertised, it is ferociously strong) to ensure the kids could party on, summer style. I could share dozens of examples of silly decisions I’ve made, and I’m sure you could as well.

That’s the most lighthearted intro I could come up with, seeing as today’s subject is the fall (and subsequent fallout) of mankind as recorded in Genesis 3 & 4. Comical mistakes aside, I’m well aware that there are the many sinful choices we’ve made that none of us want to share about, because those are anything but lighthearted.

As heavy as these chapters are, it’s hard to miss God’s incredible mercy towards our first parents and their children shown in His Words and actions to them.

Chapter three starts with Satan’s deception of Eve recorded. He isn’t even subtle in the way he twists God’s words, initially suggesting that every tree is off limits. Eve attempts to correct that, but he is able to deceive her into in disobeying God’s command, with Adam following suit.

Deceive: To cause to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid.

This first deception paved the way for Satan as the “father of lies” (John 8:44) – many have been and will be deceived by him all the way to their eternal death. So where is God’s mercy here? It’s immeasurable. He gave a life giving commandment to Adam and Eve. They were warned about the wages of sin being death. The same goes for us as their great (x a lot) grandchildren. He has plainly given us His Word, warning each person to flee the Deceiver’s falsehoods and to shelter in His Son for salvation (John 12:44-50).

After eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil Adam and Eve immediately felt shame about their nakedness and hid from God. He shows His kindness by seeking them out and speaking to and with them, rather than abandoning them to their deserved fate. For a really good sermon about this particular section, click here (thanks, Mom!)

As I’ve reviewed this passage, one thing that stands out to me is that once Adam and Eve have answered God’s questions (blame-shifting and all) that God curses Satan without asking him any questions. My son Jude sometimes asks me if Satan can be saved, and I try my best to answer him biblically and emphasize that God’s justice is perfect and beyond our full comprehension. There isn’t much focus on Satan here – his backstory, motives, etc – the emphasis is squarely placed on God’s words.

God’s cursing of Satan includes what theologians call the protevangelium – the first gospel:

“And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” – Genesis 3:15

How can we find mercy in enmity? As much as people seem to prefer peaceful resolutions, there will need to be war to restore what was lost in Eden. We see that Satan will have offspring and that they’ll be at war with the woman’s seed . A Promised One will come from the woman. There will be war and bruising, and the end result will be a crushed and defeated serpent!

After rightly pronouncing Satan’s judgment and proclaiming this great promise God declares the earned consequences for sin to Adam and Eve and their descendants. There will be pain in childbirth and strife enters the marriage relationship. The ground is cursed, resulting in grueling toil for mankind. All of this difficulty will proceed the certainty of the grave.

This life isn’t just hard because of random chance or because the world is governed by an apathetic higher power. Quite the opposite. God was and is just to punish sin – and He doesn’t punish us rebels as we deserve! He always has purposes in what He does. He delights to rescue and restore all Who will follow Him. Other Scripture gives us much insight into this reality:

“For the creation was subjected to futility — not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it — in the hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of God’s children.” – Romans 8:20-21

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and rich in faithful love. He will not always accuse us or be angry forever. He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve or repaid us according to our offenses. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His faithful love toward those who fear Him.” – Psalms 103:8-11

God’s mercy continues to blaze as He clothes Adam and Eve with animal skin. Then, in His divine wisdom He evicts Adam and Eve from the garden to ensure they won’t eat from the tree of life and therefore be doomed to live forever as fallen creatures.

Genesis four records the sad story of the first brothers’ lives – Cain opening the door to his sin and murdering Abel. God spares him from immediate death, banishing him further from His presence due to his evil works. Abel is the first martyr – and though he is recorded as finding favor with God, he isn’t the promised Headcrusher. I love having the whole Word to marvel over, and I often read this passage after reviewing Genesis 4:

“You have come….to Jesus (mediator of a new covenant ), and to the sprinkled blood, which says better things than the blood of Abel.” -Hebrews 12:22-24

So once again we’ve mainly zoomed in upon God’s mercy and the incredible hope found in Christ’s righteous life, death, and resurrection. I think I’m happy with that!

We can also continue to be warned that Satan is indeed a deceiver and a cunning serpent. We have to be watchful and ready to rebuke his overtures of “Did God really say…?” with the truth of what God really has said.

Stay alert, brothers and sisters. Keep yourselves in the love of the God Who clothes rebel children and crushes their enemies by sacrificing Himself for their sake.

Be blessed,

Emma

P.S. Great song for your edification:

Three Gifts Explored: Genesis Part 3

As I spend time in Genesis 1-4 every Monday, I’m continually amazed and grateful to meditate on how God has and is revealing Himself to those whom He has created in His image. A few months ago it also struck me that it’s also my family history in a way. That realization came when reviewing chapter four where Cain murders Abel, but I realized that chapter two also gives some really good family history. In keeping with last week’s post, I want to focus more on God’s goodness in and of Himself and in the gifts He gives.

We see (at least!) three gifts given in this chapter:

  • The gift of the Sabbath
  • The gift of purposeful work
  • The gift of marriage & the way it points to Christ & the church

First, the Sabbath:

“Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” – Genesis 2:1-3

We know from Psalm 121:4 that, unlike us, God doesn’t need sleep or grow weary. He blessed and sanctified the seventh day to manifest His perfect Kingship and for our good. Jesus explains this to the Pharisees after they get angry about his disciples picking grain on the Sabbath:

“Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” – Mark 2:27-28

Because the Sabbath day is a blessed and sanctified day, let’s ask God to enable us to receive this gift as we ought. For more passages about the Sabbath, see Exodus 20:9-11, Isaiah 56:2, Luke 8:6-10, and Hebrews 4:8-10.

Following the gift of the Sabbath, God grants the blessing of the meaningful work that’ll fill up the other six days of the week:

“The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed….” -Genesis 2:8

“…Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.” – Genesis 2:15

God chose the location and planted the garden first, then He gave Adam stewardship over it. The perfect world untainted by sin wasn’t one where God’s image bearers lounged around plucking grapes from vines and looking regal. God created people with complex minds and incredible bodies. From the beginning humans were made to glorify Him with every action, to reflect His goodness and experience unfettered joy while they did so.

Adam is then given a specific task to perform:

“Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.” – Genesis 2:19

Every day after I memorize, I text my Mom and my sister Caroline that part. I remember when I sent them verse 19, my Mom remarked that it was an extremely cerebral job and shows us that God had made Adam with a pretty stellar intellect.

It’s truly amazing how God planted the garden and then brought Adam to it. The Creator formed the living creatures first, then tasked Adam with naming them. The reality I find here is simple, but it’s changed the way I see my day-to-day work in a big way: God created each object and living being that I work with. We will be getting into the way the curse affects work next week. Still, even with the way that affects work on earth today, knowing that God planned and prepped Adam’s work space for Him brings me hope and much joy. His character is unchanging. If you’re in Christ He has prepared your work in advance, too!

“For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10

Finally, we come to the gift of marriage. As a result of that gift, more people would be born to fill up the earth with reflectors of God’s image (Genesis 1:28).

“The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”- Genesis 2:20-25

This account is one that, because I grew up hearing and reading it, I hadn’t taken the the time to consider in more depth until recently. God saw that Adam needed a suitable helper, and in His divine wisdom He created the woman from Adam’s own flesh. Once again, God ensures that Adam is present, but He is the One creating and gifting good things for His glory and His people’s good. Adam isn’t recorded as asking God for Eve. God is just that generous and that good.

As an aside, Christians must be well-versed in God’s ordination of marriage and His desired will for the way it should be regarded in thought and in practice. May we be ready to share about the goodness of God’s design for marriage with those who may not be aware of it. Satan circulates many lies about marriage, but God’s truth remains and He is forgiving and able to restore anyone who turns to Him. He can set captives free and heal the broken-hearted.

It’s been very edifying to consider the origin of the gift of marriage each week, both in regards to my own marriage and even more so the way it foreshadows profound mystery of Christ as the perfect bridegroom and the church as His ransomed bride (Ephesians 5:32). Jesus is the perfect second Adam, and His marriage to the church will last forever. May we rejoice in this great hope!

I’ll be switching posting days from Monday to Wednesday, so I’ll be back next week with reflections on Genesis 3.

Be blessed,

Emma

What’s Good? Genesis Part 2

“….Then God said…”

“…And there was evening and there was morning, one day.”

“…And God saw that it was good…”

These repeated phrases in Genesis one have become very familiar and comforting to me over the past year. When I was first memorizing it, the pattern made it easier to get into my mind than some other passages have been. Each phrase reveals so much about God. He speaks, and creates incredible things out of nothingness. He is an orderly God, ordaining time as it still exists now – days, weeks, seasons, years. He is good, and everything He makes is good.

I’ve mentioned before that each Monday I recite Genesis 1-4 aloud from memory. It’s beneficial to dwell on the beginning of time and the early years of humanity as a new week begins. To be honest, it’s often kind of tough, too. I’m jaded by the incongruity I feel in myself as I repeat “And God saw that it was good” on each day of creation.

Like, I just saw a headline about some dreadful crime that was committed nearby. The world was good then- and only briefly. What about right now? It ain’t looking too good, man.

And then, in a less heavy but still real way, the orderliness of the world prior to sin nags at me. The floor and the dishes and the laundry is dirty again. There’s smelly trash to throw out. It’s great that it was all in order then, but it certainly isn’t right this second.

And that is why I rejoice that God has given us the entire Word that reveals Jesus as the Redeemer and returning King Who will restore everything (Revelation 21-22).

Still, I have a tendency to skip ahead when it comes to a lot of things. When I was growing up we always fast-forwarded through musicals if we didn’t like a song. Sometimes I’ll skip sections in books, too. The long John Galt lecture in Atlas Shrugged? The lengthy chapters on French architecture in The Hunchback of Notre Dame? Bye Felicia!

So yesterday morning as I reviewed I tried to really meditate on what Genesis one records instead of just whizzing past it to get on to the next three chapters. And now I’m wondering what took me so long to just slow down and marvel. Wowzers.

In the beginning the earth is “formless and void”. There’s darkness over the surface of the deep. God the Spirit is there, moving over the surface of the waters. Then, God speaks!

Light!

How quick I am to take the daylight for granted. A new dawn each morning. The sky above, declaring His glory daily (Psalm 19). The seas and the land and that they’re separated from each other. The plants exploding out of the ground in my backyard and the flour in my cupboard from wheat fields across the nation and produce from all around the world sitting in my fridge. All because God created plants and trees on the third day. Just a twenty minute drive to the aquarium and I can see a tiny fraction of the swarms of creatures who inhabit the ocean. He made those…every single one of them. I’m hearing a chorus of birds outside my window right now. My neighbors have dogs and cats whose original ancestors were brought forth by God speaking them into existence on the sixth day!

And then…God declares His purpose to create people in His image. That is fundamental to who we are as people. Philosophers and many others have pondered, written, and lectured, just trying to carve out the purpose of man’s existence. And here lies the answer. May we not leave it unopened!

Paul explains it clearly in the Areopagus address, ending with the call to repent and believe in Christ:

“The God who made the world and everything in it — He is Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in shrines made by hands. Neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives everyone life and breath and all things. From one man He has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live. He did this so they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. For in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ Being God’s offspring then, we shouldn’t think that the divine nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image fashioned by human art and imagination. Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, God now commands all people everywhere to repent, because He has set a day when He is going to judge the world in righteousness by the Man He has appointed. He has provided proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.” – Acts 17:24-31

Romans 1:20 tells us this:

“For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse.” – Romans 1:20

What He has made points us to Himself! The vast oceans full of life, the breathtaking snow-capped mountains, the galaxies we can’t even begin to explore. We all know it, whether we admit it or not…and He wants us to know. He isn’t hiding!

So as I’ve been considering how I want to dwell more deeply on what’s recorded in the first chapter of Genesis, it’s not as if I’m choosing to shut myself off from the current fallen state of the world. That wouldn’t be faithful to the full counsel of God. But what I am seeing is that God is high and holy and that His power and perfection can still be clearly seen in creation around me. I can praise Him for the way He created everything as good and the ways that goodness can be seen and touched and smelled and heard and tasted today.

Rather than focusing the bulk of my attention on the headlines and resenting the ongoing carousel of dirty dishes, I can praise God for His holiness and think more deeply on that. And I would encourage you to do likewise, so that we can grow together in our certainty of His great love for His children and the sure hope we have in Him.

Be blessed,

Emma

Majestic & Merciful: Genesis Part 1

It’s a Monday, people. As far as Mondays go, mine has actually been pretty stellar. Big shoutout to my awesome MIL who watched my kids so I could get things done at home!

While I worked on some of those things, I recited Genesis 1-4 because it’s on the schedule for Monday and to help prepare for this post. Oftentimes when I begin either book, I’ll mix up John and Genesis. Sunday school kids, why do ya think that is? The prize for answering is a Starburst! 😉 Yep, you got it! Both books begin with the same three words:

“In the beginning…”

Immediately we are made to admit we need God to tell us what happened in the beginning because – news flash – we weren’t there! We see God explain that very powerfully to Job in Job 38. And, shocking as it continues to be, we also need Divine revelation to inform us about a great many things we weren’t physically there to witness, such as the fall of mankind into sin and God’s promise of a coming Son Who would crush Satan’s head.

The genesis (puns always intended, my friends) of me wanting to memorize Genesis was a frustration with the common occurrence of Christians doubting literal six day creation, with some attempting to fit modern evolutionary theory into the text in various ways. I don’t really want to get into that too deeply right this moment for reasons that’ll become obvious in a minute, but I will link to this great blog post by Tim Challies for your edification.

As I wrestled with concern over this issue, the Spirit reminded me of what I’d been learning along my Scripture memory and review journey: the best way to deal anything hard in my life was to go to Christ with it. As He is the Word made flesh, He led me to press more into the truth revealed there. So I sought to commit time and effort to memorize and meditate on the creation account as an alternative to dwelling on what I do indeed perceive to be an erroneous interpretation of the Scriptures.

This endeavor has certainly lifted my focus from temporal concerns and pursuits to how majestic and merciful the threefold God truly is. In the next three weeks we’ll marvel at His greatness, grieve over the sinfulness of humankind, and rejoice in the hope found in God’s patience and graciousness. If this blog feels like a broken record where that’s what we do every week, then…mission accomplished! It’s what we need every minute of every day. May He create clean hearts in us that love, worship, and enjoy Him forever.

Be blessed,

Emma

Uncontainable: John Part 7

Why jellybeans? Read on…

I’ve always had a super weird imagination- just ask anyone who knew me growing up. Basically, elementary school Emma is what you’d get if you put Calvin and Hobbes in a blender with some My Little Ponies and tossed in a pinch of Jane Austen (courtesy of spying on my older sisters’ movie nights).

For some reason one of my favorite things to imagine was what it would be like if every single ______ in the world suddenly materialized into my room or another set space. I think it started with jellybeans…because why not? Then on our road trip out west I envisioned all of the cows in the world suddenly being teleported onto the swath of land we were traversing.

So of course I was pretty excited when I first read this verse:

“Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”- John 21:25

He is the One Who fills all in all (Ephesians 2:23).

His love is unending, unfailing, steadfast (Psalm 48:9).

He cannot be contained, yet He dwells with His people (2 Chronicles 2:6, Revelation 21).

The reason that reciting Scripture is so life giving in my hourto-hour experience is that it spurs me to fix my eyes on the everlasting God and rejoice in what He has done. I desperately need to remember He is King in every moment. When I forget and shift my eyes to myself and my own small kingdom, things fall apart pretty much immediately. That happened yesterday, so it’s quite fresh in my mind. Today there are new mercies. He gives me grace upon grace. What a Savior!

There aren’t enough books in the world to tell of all of His wonderful works. Yet the Spirit has revealed in the Scripture all that we need. His Word is truth and it is sufficient for our every need.

Consider this biblical exhortation:

“Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!” -Psalms 96:3

How can you do this today? What are some of His marvelous works you’d like to reflect on in depth today? Please share in the comments if you’d like!

Next week I’ll start a four-part series on Genesis 1-4. May His grace be with you!

The High Priestly Prayer: John Part 6

This week we’ll zoom in on a specific chapter in John’s gospel. With just 26 verses (for an brief history of chapter and verse divisions, click here) chapter 17 is one of the shorter ones in John. If you want to check it out before you continue reading, you can hear a recording of my recitation here or read it here.

We all know that prayer is a key means of grace. If you’ve ever tried to pray and struggled to actually do it, you get why it’s often referred to as a “spiritual discipline”. There’s certainly no shortage of books, podcasts, blog posts, etc. on prayer. A Praying Life by Paul Miller is my recommendation if you’re looking for one.

In order to learn how to pray in real life, it’s vital to look long and hard into Jesus’ teachings on prayer. As a start or refresher, check out Matthew 6:5-13, 9:38, Mark 14:38, and John 15:7-8.

We can also be amazed by what the Bible reveals about the way Jesus prayed and word for word recordings of His prayers the Spirit chose to give to us.

Perhaps because of the way I’ve typically prayed in corporate settings (every head bowed, every eye closed, y’all!) this passage always floors me:

“In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to Him Who was able to save him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence.” – Hebrews 5:7

The other day a good friend and I were talking about how in many parts of the gospels the authors don’t include what tone, facial expressions, etc. Jesus used when He spoke. But according to this verse we can know that many of His prayers weren’t quiet. This doesn’t indicate that a volume increase boosts the value of a prayer or anything. One thing it does show is that Jesus was fully assured of His Father’s love, power, and presence. As a result of this unwavering certainty Jesus was able to cry out to Him without any reservation. He never doubted that God heard Him. The Father was pleased by everything Jesus did (John 8:29) including His blameless prayer life.

With that in mind, let’s look at the words Jesus prayed in John 17. He begins and ends with a focus on His glory and glorification:

“When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you…” – 17:1

“Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” -17:24

This is a beautiful glimpse into the nature of the Triune God: He has always existed and is always perfectly harmonious and loving within Himself.

John 17 is often described as the High Priestly prayer because in it Jesus intercedes for those whom the Father has given Him. He confidently states the purpose of His words and actions as well as requesting several things from the Father, including:

  • That God’s children will be kept in His Name (v. 11)
  • That believers may have His joy fulfilled in themselves (v. 13)
  • Not that we would be instantly removed from the world, but that we would be protected from the evil one while we are in the world (v. 15)
  • For our sanctification in the truth – God’s Word is truth (v. 17)
  • That believers through all ages would be one, even as He and the Father are one and that as a result of this unity the world would believe that the Father sent Jesus and loves Christians as He has loved Christ (v. 20-23)
  • For us to be with Him where He is to see His eternal glory that flows from eternal love (v. 24)
  • That the love with which He has loved us may be in us, and He in us (v. 26)

Jesus knew about the great suffering He was about to experience (John 8:14) and this was how He prayed. His eyes were lifted up to heaven, knowing that His help came from there. This is a huge example for us as we walk through trials on earth. He intercedes for us as we face the enemy’s attacks. May that fill us with great confidence.

We can also learn a great deal about how to pray for the body of Christ from Jesus’ prayer. He desires our oneness and delights to answer that request. May we as the church of the living God pursue sanctification in the Word of truth and grow in unity. May that cause the world to know and believe that the Father sent Jesus Christ in order to lavish His love upon all who receive Him.

Be blessed,

Emma

Family: John Part 5

Back in the day (college, that is) I was part of a really incredible daily missions prayer group. A small group of us met every weekday at five o’clock to pray for specific missionaries and for the gospel to be spread throughout the whole world. One time when a few new people showed up I thought it’d be a great idea to ask an icebreaker question. Which it probably would’ve been if I’d stuck with something like, say, “What’s the coolest place you’ve visited?” But instead I went with, “If you could marry any Bible character, who would it be?”

The top responses were a Jesus juke about the church being the bride of Christ, anyone but Solomon, Ruth, Moses, and (from one of the new guys) – “One of Job’s daughters after he was healed. It does say they were really beautiful.”

That memory came back to me when I was trying to sculpt this post together. It’s a challenge to not relegate people in the Bible to coloring pages (or icebreaker questions!) We can fall into seeing Scriptural narratives as a handful of stories about kinda-sorta-flawed-but-still-faith-giants who we should try to emulate. It requires diligence to see the saints in the Word as they indeed are: brothers and sisters who are loved by God as we are. The Spirit chose to tell us what He did about their lives to encourage Christians through the ages. It’s exciting!

With that said, I wanted to write about one of the saints from the gospel of John who has encouraged me. It was a tough choice, because there are a lot of people in it who I have come to love like my own earthly family.

Peter…obvs. Because, ya know…he’s Peter. And Nicodemus, who asked Jesus questions in the dead of night. The answers he hears from God’s Son lead him to question his fellow Pharisees in broad daylight in chapter eight. We see him again in chapter nineteen, clearly leaving his old life behind, joining Joseph, (bringing 75 pounds of myrrh and aloes) to bury Jesus. I’m so grateful for Martha and Mary, the sisters I cry with as we confess Jesus as Christ together even as we weep over death’s seeming victory.

But the one I want to write about today is Philip. He appears by name eleven times in John’s gospel, and we’ll look at a few of those appearances.

John introduces Philip as someone Jesus goes to Galilee to find, giving him an authoritative invitation right away: “Follow me!”

This confirms Jesus’ words to the disciples in the final discourse:

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit…” John 15:16

Right after Jesus’ call, we see Philip start to go and bear some fruit:

“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 1:45

Philip had been paying attention to God’s revealed Word. He recognized that that Someone greater than Moses and the prophets was coming and he was on the lookout. John portrays the drama of the division amongst everyone who hears Jesus all throughout his gospel. It’s most clearly seen in chapter seven. Some confess him as the Christ, some want to kill him, some choose to sit on the fence and not commit one way or the other. John calls anyone who will listen to full belief in Christ, and one way he does this is by recording examples of people who followed Him as Lord, including Philip.

We next see Philip being tested by Jesus before the feeding of the enormous crowd in chapter six. No doubt that experience humbled him greatly and subsequently built his faith in Christ as the Bread of Life!

In 12:21 some Greeks come to him asking to see Jesus. Philip is a Greek name (it means “lover of horses”) so that explains why they came to him. He goes and gets Andrew and they go tell Jesus. Interestingly, it isn’t recorded in that chapter if the Greeks did got to see Jesus or not. But Jesus’ words following this event do explain His perfect purpose in coming and the reward that awaits anyone who serves Him wholeheartedly:

“And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” – John 12:23-26

Church tradition says that Philip might have died a martyr’s death. While we don’t know for sure, we do know he was present during the great revival as well as strong opposition that arose against believers after Pentecost. Jesus’ words would have reminded him to persevere in serving the Lord, knowing that eternal life in Christ awaited him.

The final time John mentions Philip by name is in chapter fourteen. It’s a passage that’s particularly poignant to recite out loud. Read it aloud to yourself if you can:

“If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.” -John 14:7-11

This passage is the main reason I wanted to focus in on Philip. He had been with Jesus for three years and didn’t know Him fully. Yet Jesus explained it patiently because He wanted Philip to understand. And the Godhead had everything perfectly planned to send the Holy Spirit to guide believers into all the truth (16:13).

Again, we don’t know exactly how Phillip’s life ended out. But from what’s written, we know he was called and chosen, a son who loved and therefore rebuked and disciplined (Rev. 3:19) and one member of the great cloud of witnesses pointing us to worship the glorious King.

One thing about God that causes me to marvel daily is how He can love each of His children personally, fully, and flawlessly. That’s probably because I don’t even come close to treating my own loved ones in that way. So today I pray that you’re able to be encouraged by the stories told about other believers in the Word, knowing that you are loved by the threefold God just as they are. And may you be filled with hope as we anticipate the greatest family reunion ever. It’s getting closer with every passing second!

Be blessed,

Emma