Thursday, June 21, 2012

Loving Philip -- the non-prejudiced disciple

One of my favorite disciples is Philip. I just love this guy. I mean, Peter even had racial issues AFTER he received the holy spirit, after he had the vision of the sheet dropping down to heaven. His prejudice against gentiles and non-Jews is soooo ingrained that even in chapter seven of ACTS he buckles when some of the Jewish disciples like James saw him eating with gentile believers. Once a wimpy reed always a wimpy reed even if Jesus named him Rock it just didn't take.

But Philip, sweet wonderful Philip is totally different. During Jesus' disciple, Philip brought some Greek believers to speak to him. Philip also was the one who spoke to the eunuch of the Candace of Egypt. But especially, Philip was wonderful to the Samaritans.

The Samaritans were a group of people whom the Jews rejected. Basically what happened was that the Jews were taken out of their land by the conquering folks. 2 Kings 17. A few of them remained and then the conquering folks put strangers --non-Jews-- in the Jesus land to repopulate the land. The Jewish religion there and the Jewish people there got all mixed up. When the Jews returned to the land t0 build the temple, the Samaritans offered to help to build the temple but the returning Jews rejected them because they were mixed "Get your unholy hands off our temple."

Incidentally, beginning with Abraham the Jews had a history of rejecting folks they just didn't consider holy enough. Both Abraham and Isaac didn't believe that the gentiles they encountered were even decent enough to acknowledge God or marriage. It's the problem with a spiritual vision of being a great people, I think. And folks in the United States have it too. Heck, Joseph (Jacob's son) had the same problem. If you have a great vision, you just belittle everyone else around you. And Jacob's sons killed Shechem (the prince who got involved with Dinah) because they didn't think he was good enough.

Anyways, the Samaritans got rejected and built their own temple to God since the Jews didn't want to include them as God's people. But Jesus accepted the Samaritans.

Andn so did Philip. He was so accepting that he even had Simon "Magus" in his ranks and accepted him before Peter gave Simon a talking to. So whenever I think of Philip, I think what an open-minded lover of different cultures he was. It's been said by some that the book of ACTS was written by the evangelist Luke in order to make Jewish disciples see that God was doing mighty acts through Paul among the gentiles. Hey, we know Philip didn't need the book of ACTS to tell him that God loved the gentiles -- and even the hated Samaritans. He had the loving knowledge in him all along.
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