Little is known about Philip and James. According to the Gospel of John, Philip came from Bethsaida, “the town of Andrew and Peter,” and may have been a friend or business partner of theirs. Before the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, Jesus asked Philip how they should feed the crowd. Philip, a businessman, calculated what it would cost and concluded that it simply could not be done.
Philip was just as straightforward in persuading Nathanael to meet Jesus. When his friend doubted Jesus’ credentials, Philip said, “Come and see”. Apart from a few other limited references, however, Philip appears nowhere else in the New Testament.
We know even less about James, the son of Alphaeus. He is even called “the younger” or “lesser” to distinguish him from James, the brother of John. Some traditions consider him to be the same James who led the early Jerusalem community, but his identity is uncertain.
It should not surprise us that even though little is known about these men, they are still honored as saints. Jesus did not choose them because of their leadership ability or theological expertise. He called regular people with jobs, homes, and families. Their lives were changed when they met the Son of God, and over time he formed them so that he could send them out to proclaim his good news. In fact, Greek word apostolos means “one who is sent.”
Each of us has been called and sent forth as well – including you. Jesus has a special plan and calling for you, just as he did for Philip and James. And that plan begins with the promise of meeting the Lord and having your life changed by him. So today in prayer, quiet your heart and mind, and let Jesus show you his love. As he does, he will also show you his calling.
-word among us