Jesus Speaks to the 12: John, Philip, and Bartholomew

By Rev. Kelly Isola

This is Part 2 of a four-part series leading up to Holy Thursday. Each day, three disciples who were present at the Last Supper will be highlighted. It is partially inspired by the Unity teaching of the Twelve Powers.

I look at you, John, and I smile, chuckling inside for just a moment. You have sometimes seemed least like the others in our little group. I know that sounds odd, because after all, so often you seem to fit in everywhere—with strangers and friends alike—and yet you sometimes simultaneously fit nowhere. There’s probably no other way to say what you have been for me, except to say you are love incarnate. So it seems paradoxical for me to also say you don’t always fit in!

I think this is because we don’t often know how to be in the energy of love when it is truly expressed. You are so unique because you don’t even think about it. You have nothing to decide—you are simply love. Sadly, I think people so rarely experience the love you embody, and they don’t know how to be around you. I confess that I haven’t always been sure. 

Most people aren’t used to this kind of love, so it can feel unsettling, foreign, and maybe even frightening if people think they are unworthy. You have shown me that love doesn’t discriminate—you don’t discriminate—and you simply love for love’s sake. You see everything—every fault, lie, hurt, misunderstanding, mistake—everything. Yet you see none of it because love sees more of things than it sees less. 

It is your God nature of love to create space for sharing my innermost shadows and wounds, and then drawing me out to rest in your safety, to know my own healing and wholeness. You are a soft place to fall when my world is circling out of control. It is love that does this—it is you, John, who has done this for me—and will always do so because I believe you can’t be anything less. Before I leave this world, John, I want you to know this is who you have been for me, and the world is better for it.

Whenever I get ready to speak with you, Philip, I find myself taking a deep breath, which brings me a sense of being grounded, a sense of standing on a solid foundation. This simple act of a slow, deep breath before I speak is the perfect symbol for you, Philip. Through this short time we have known each other, I have watched you come to Truth slowly, like a long inhale filling your lungs. Even when you don’t recognize Truth staring you in the face, you still take life in and make space for Truth to germinate.

Then I see it—your face changes as you continue to breathe slowly. I see you awaken to the power that you are by harnessing all the life energies within yourself! Once harnessed, you have an uncanny ability to direct it with laser focus to bring forth God ideas here on earth. Everything about you shifts and your glory starts to shine! After your glory begins to shine, then comes your voice, which is filled with what you have just realized. I am captivated! You amaze me and take my breath away. You have made my ministry a sanctuary of power and grace. 

From every miracle you have witnessed, to the difficult encounters with those who work to deny the life, love, power, and substance that is God, you continually work at coming into your own. 

Each time you find your voice, you leave echoes of perfection that gently land on people’s hearts, while also lighting the path for those who are lost. Your presence reverberates this as possibly our greatest creative power coming to life. Before I leave this world, Philip, I want you to know this is who you have been for me, and the world is better for it.

I am so grateful that Philip brought you into my life, Bartholomew, and I probably haven’t told you often enough. On numerous occasions, you have helped me see beyond what is in front of me. Your capacity to imagine the unimaginable fascinates me and encourages me to do the same. As you know, I haven’t always understood why people couldn’t hear my message. I didn’t understand how they could ignore the cries of those who need food, warmth, and nurturing. 

With great clarity and with no words, you have brought me back to focus simply by looking me in the eyes and reflecting back to me the image and likeness of God. In doing so, you awakened me to ever-greater, imaginative ways to show my divinity through my humanity. It is through me—as a human—that God takes shape, and there are infinite ways to do this. Do you realize how many of those ways you have demonstrated? 

You always make me laugh. I don’t want to forget to tell you. Sometimes it takes me a few minutes to catch up to you because you’re always creating and giving shape to the sacred, as well as the sublime! What I am most grateful for is your capacity to shape and form God into what the world needs now: compassion, joy, support, love, silliness, kindness, courage, enthusiasm, and so much more. You remind me of the infinite possibilities available at all times. In my world, you are the “good life,” eternally present, molded, and shaped from body, mind, and spirit. Before I leave this world, Bartholomew, I want you to know this is who you have been for me, and the world is better for it.

The Twelve Powers are core abilities within each of us that we are using whether we know it or not. We consciously use them to handle every life situation so we can be the best we can be. Each of our Twelve Powers has a focused use and purpose, and we use them together, in concert, to master the art of living. They are faith, strength, wisdom, love, power, imagination, understanding, will, order, zeal, elimination, and life.

Part 1—Jesus Speaks to the 12: Peter, Andrew, and James

Part 2—Jesus Speaks to the 12: John, Philip, and Bartholomew

Part 3—Jesus Speaks to the 12: Thomas, Matthew, and Alphaeus

Part 4—Jesus Speaks to the 12: Simon, Thaddeus, and Judas 

Rev. Kelly Isola is a culture-builder and catalyst for personal and organizational development. She is an author, consultant, visionary scholar-practitioner, and healer. Learn more at