Philip was a normal guy.
After Jesus invited Philip to follow him, Philip went to find his friend Nathaniel. Rather than talking about his own understanding of Jesus, Philip rooted his invitation to his friend in theology: “This is the one Moses and the prophets pointed to.” When Nathaniel argued, Philip merely said, “Come and see.”
When faced with a crowd of people needing food, Jesus asked Philip where they could buy it. Philip responded, “Eight months wages wouldn’t buy enough for each one to have a bite of bread.”
When someone comes to Philip and asks to be taken to Jesus, Philip goes to find Andrew. Together they go.
Philip seems to be the kind of person that doesn’t demand much, that doesn’t lead much, that doesn’t expect much.
I’m not being critical when I say that. There are way more Philip people than there are Peter people (loud, intense) or John people (working right alongside Peter and Jesus). Philip people quietly do their work. Philip people don’t worry a lot about theology, don’t get into the big arguments, don’t remember all the footnotes.
So when Jesus says,
“If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip replies with:
“Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
Philip’s request makes sense. Many of us travel long distances for an autograph from a famous person, for having our picture taken with the band. Philip would be happy with the glimpse of God that Moses got. Philip would be happy with once, simply, clearly, a view of God.
For Jesus, that request is a frustration. He just said that seeing him is seeing the Father. God offers supper conversations, not merely snapshots.