The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 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.” And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
I will never tire of telling the story of the two angels who cornered me at a backyard barbecue and started my journey toward the Savior. I look back at the man I was on that day, and he was incredibly hardened. These young ladies, who I had not seen much since finishing high school many years earlier, were way too excited to talk to me about church and God. It was a very foreign conversation for me, and I was pretty uncomfortable throughout it all. What I remember is that I could not be convinced of any facts or any of their knowledge about this God of theirs. Their response was to invite me to come meet him, and that encounter would change everything.
I wonder whether Philip expected the response that he received from Nathanael when he told Nathanael the town from which Jesus came. Nazareth had a reputation, and it was not a good one. Philip certainly would have known about it, but that did not seem to affect his perspective on the Messiah. I am sure he had heard much not only about Nazareth but about Jesus himself, but those whisperings, those opinions and rumors, were not what drove Philip in his faith. He had met Jesus, and that was his proof. His answer to Nathanael is not only a challenge but also a declaration of confidence in the man he called Lord. No matter what had been said about Jesus, good or bad, Philip’s faith was founded on the teacher he had encountered.
Records of tradition tell us that Philip was crucified upside down. He certainly would have been tempted to deny his faith to escape such a torturous death. He might have been asked to reconsider whether Jesus was really the Son of God, whether He really performed miracles, whether He really had risen from the dead. I imagine Philip answering with the same confidence and excitement that he showed to Nathanael, the confidence of someone who had met Jesus and known that he had encountered the real deal. Father, give us the confidence of Philip to trust in our experience with your Son as a showing of who He is, causing us to invite others to meet him, too.