In the early Church, there were two followers of Jesus named Philip. One was an apostle (Lk 6:14), the other among the first deacons (Acts 6:5).
Philip the apostle knew all about Jesus, but didn't know Jesus. Jesus said to Philip, "After I have been with you all this time, you still do not know Me?" (Jn 14:9) Philip the apostle saw Jesus work many signs and wonders, but these did not lead Philip to believe Jesus was in the Father (Jn 14:7-8). Jesus commanded him: "Believe because of the works I do" (Jn 14:11). Jesus promised Philip that he would do works greater by far than Jesus (Jn 14:12). Philip, however, didn't believe Him. Later, Philip came to know Jesus personally and believe in Him. Yet before Pentecost Philip had no such relationship.
We meet Philip the deacon after Pentecost. He knew Jesus personally. In Samaria, he performed works greater by far than Jesus. "There were many who had unclean spirits, which came out shrieking loudly. Many others were paralytics or cripples, and these were cured. The rejoicing in that town rose to fever pitch" (Acts 8:7-8). Philip the deacon was led by the Spirit to convert the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:35ff), thereby being Jesus' witness "even to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
Although Philip the apostle touched, saw, embraced, and worked with Jesus, he did not know Him. Philip the deacon may have never seen Jesus in his physical presence, but he had a deep, personal relationship with Jesus. "Blest are they who have not seen and have believed" (Jn 20:29).
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from April 1, 2006 through May 31, 2006.
†Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 27, 2005.