On August 24, the Church remembers St. Bartholomew. Who in the world is St. Bartholomew?
He is the Apostle, who was also named Nathanael. He was born in Cana of Galilee.
St. Philip, having received the gift of faith, sought out Nathanael. He then said to him, “We have found the One about whom Moses wrote the Law (the First 5 books of the Bile), and the prophets did write. He is Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael heard this, and gave his famous reply, “Nazareth, can anything good come from Nazareth?” (John 1) – The answer is yes – Jesus, the Son of God, our Savior.
Soon after, Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him. Jesus said to him, “Behold, an Israelite in which there is no deceit.” Nathanael asked, “How do you know me?” Jesus replied, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanel replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Being in the presence of Christ and hearing His voice, noting His Omniscience, Nathanael – St. Bartholomew received the gift of faith. (Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Rom. 10:17).
Nathanael-St. Bartholomew, would have seen the Baptism of Jesus, was also anointed with the Apostles (Matt. 10:3, Mark 3:18, and Luke 6:14), witnessed the death of Christ on Good Friday, saw Him after He was resurrected from the dead Easter Sunday night, witnessed the ascension of Jesus, and returned with the Apostles to Jerusalem (Acts 1:4, 12, and 13). All of this fulfills the criteria for being an Apostle.
Tradition has it that St. Bartholomew brought the Gospel to Armenia. It has been reported that there, he was flayed alive, and crucified with his head downward.
St Bartholomew, was, “a calm retiring soul, whose whole sphere of existence lies not here, but where beyond the voices, there is peace. It was a life in which the world sees nothing, because it was hid with Christ in God.” (Farrar)
It is good for Christians to reflect upon the saints of the past. They are, the company of heaven, and, “the great cloud of witnesses.” (Hebrews 11)
St. Bartholomew was chosen by Christ, by being in His presence and hearing His Word. The same thing happened to you and me at the Baptismal Font. He was taught by Jesus, through the Word. So have we. He was sent out to share the Good News. So are we. In His death, he proclaimed that Christ is the Resurrection and the Life, and so will we.
We are where God wants us to be. It is His vineyard, and we are His workers. He decides who goes where, and does what, so His will can be done through us.
Have a Great August Pastor Brad Rick