The Disciple Philip

Based on John 6:2-14

Room 204

This panel symbolically tells the story of the “Feeding of the Five Thousand.”  The Gospel of John mentions Philip’s presence at this event as it unfolded on a mountainside near the Sea of Galilee.  The artist depicts the landscape with the green and brown tiles.  In the bottom right corner there are two fish.  At the lower left section of the mosaic there are five dark circular shapes which represent five loaves of bread.  This limited food supply would amazingly feed over 5,000 people.  As recorded by all four gospel writers, we know that the crowds continued to follow Jesus into the evening hours. The top of the panel depicts the setting of the sun in colors of red, yellow and orange.  In the middle of the mosaic the crowd is represented by a row of people.  Notice their feet, rectangular bodies and circular heads. Behind them are the heads and bodies of the other thousands of people which are also represented by similar shapes. No one had eaten their dinner yet. 

Although the disciples were ready to disperse the crowd and send them into the neighboring villages, Jesus had compassion on the people and asked Philip where they could purchase bread for the crowd.  Philip answered, “Six months wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.”  Unbeknownst to Philip and the other disciples Jesus did have a plan.  Andrew found a boy with a basket of two fish and five loaves of bread.  After blessing the meager items of food, miraculously, the food was distributed and the entire multitude of people was fed.  Not only were they fully satisfied, but there were twelve baskets of left over food. 

In the lower right section of the panel the twelve baskets of left over food are arranged in a circle around the cross.  The cross represents Jesus and the payment He made for our sins through His death on the cross so God could restore a relationship with people. This was truly a “teachable moment” for Jesus as people realized that He was more than just a man.  His powers and intellect superseded anyone they had known.

The artist focuses on another brief event in the life of Philip as recorded in John 12:20-22.  Philip was approached by some Greeks one day who requested to see Jesus.  Philip took Andrew with him and told Jesus about the request of the Greek men.  Obviously, the preaching and miracles of Jesus was an excellent way for people “to see God” in person. His ministry personalized God’s initiative of the salvation for the world in spite of the devastating consequences of sin. The artist places the words “Show us God” in the midst of the five loaves of bread to illustrate that the miracles of Christ were an insight to the power of God.

People today have that same request; “Show us God” then we will be convinced.  Jesus replies to that request every day as He shows the same compassion to each of us.  Just as He blessed that meager meal and made it a feast, He blesses our lives abundantly “showing us God” in very tangible ways.  Most people overlook the many miracles that happen each day. They consider them simply “luck” and nothing more. Life is not luck. Nor is it lived by chance, but rather by the miraculous actions of God working in the details of our lives so we can understand His purpose for which we were created.  Philip embraced the miracles of Jesus as evidence of God’s intervention in his life and the assurance of everlasting life with Him in heaven.  Philip traveled through Asia and dedicated his life to “show people God” so they also could experience the miracle of God’s redeeming power.

In memory of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Oeschlin, Sr.


Last Published: February 19, 2016 11:48 AM
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