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Humble Hero

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    Slow to Believe

    Philip was the first to whom Jesus spoke the distinct command, “Follow Me.” He had heard John the Baptist announce Christ as the Lamb of God. He was a sincere seeker for truth but was slow to believe, as his announcement of Jesus to Nathanael shows. Though the Voice from heaven had proclaimed Christ as the Son of God, to Philip He was “Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” John 1:45. Again, when Jesus fed the five thousand, Philip showed his lack of faith. To test him, Jesus questioned, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” Philip’s answer, on the side of unbelief, made Jesus sad: “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.” John 6:5, 7. Philip had seen Jesus’ works and felt His power, yet he did not have faith.HH 131.1

    When the Greeks asked Philip concerning Jesus, he did not take the opportunity to introduce them to the Savior, but went to tell Andrew. Again, in those last hours before the Crucifixion, the words of Philip were the kind that discourage faith. When Thomas said, “Lord, ... how can we know the way?” the Savior answered, “I am the way. ... If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.” From Philip came the response of unbelief: “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” John 14:5-8.HH 131.2

    In happy contrast to Philip’s unbelief was the childlike trust of Nathanael, whose faith took hold of unseen realities. Yet Philip was a student in the school of Christ, and the divine Teacher bore patiently with his unbelief and dullness. When the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples, Philip became a godly teacher who taught with an assurance that carried conviction to the hearers.HH 131.3

    While Jesus was preparing the disciples for ordination, one whom He had not called pressed in among them. Judas Iscariot, a professed follower of Christ, came forward, asking for a place in this inner circle. By joining the apostles, he hoped to gain a high place in the new kingdom. He looked like someone important, he had a keen mind and executive ability, and the disciples recommended him to Jesus as one who would help Him greatly in His work. If Jesus had turned Judas away, they would have questioned their Master’s wisdom. However, the later history of Judas would show the danger of allowing worldly consideration to have weight in deciding someone’s fitness for the work of God.HH 131.4

    Yet Judas felt the influence of the divine power that was drawing people to the Savior. Jesus would not reject this man while even one desire was reaching toward the light. The Savior read Judas’s heart. He knew the depths of sin to which he would sink, unless he was delivered by the grace of God. In connecting this man with Himself, He placed him where day by day he could come into contact with His own unselfish love. If he would open his heart to Christ, even Judas might become a citizen of the kingdom of God.HH 131.5

    God takes people as they are and trains them for His service, if they will be disciplined and learn from Him. Through knowing and practicing the truth, through the grace of Christ, they may be transformed into His image.HH 132.1

    Judas had the same opportunities as the other disciples had. But to follow the truth was not what he wanted or intended, and he would not yield his ideas in order to receive wisdom from Heaven.HH 132.2

    Tenderly the Savior dealt with the one who was to be His betrayer! Jesus showed Judas the hateful character of greed. Many times the disciple realized that Jesus had portrayed his character and pointed out his sin, but he would not confess and forsake his unrighteousness. He continued to follow his dishonest practices. Lesson after lesson fell in vain on the ears of Judas.HH 132.3

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