By Lucy Johnson
“You will see greater things than these.” ~ John 1:50b
It has always surprised me that we don’t know more about the 12 Apostles. For example, today is the Feast of St. Bartholomew. He is only mentioned a handful of times in the New Testament, and even then, he is called by different names. So the first time I heard of Apostle Nathanael, I was puzzled. I wasn’t familiar with a Nathanael.
Only in John’s Gospel is Bartholomew referred to as Nathanael. Biblical scholars believe that Nathanael and Bartholomew were the same person. The name Bartholomew is more of a family name meaning “son of Talmai,” his father. Jesus calls Nathanael a true son of Israel in whom there is no deceit.
Coming from Nazareth?
“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. This question was hard to understand until I visited the Holy Land. Nathanael came from Cana, a short distance from Nazareth. Perhaps the nearby villages had an ongoing rivalry, or maybe Nazareth was just too small to matter. When I moved to a different state, I was shocked that anyone would choose to attend college near my hometown. I had taken for granted something which others highly regarded.
Come and See
So why do we know so little about those disciples who were closest to Jesus? Perhaps it’s because they placed the message above themselves. They knew Jesus intimately, listened to, lived, and worked with Him for three years, day-in and day-out, through good times and bad. I can’t imagine all the great things not recorded in the New Testament, but I know that the message they spread continues to be seen today.
Like today’s saint, we are invited to “come and see” Jesus, to have Him in our hearts. Then, with trust in God, we will see much greater things than what is here and now.
May we, like the Apostles, work more to make Jesus known and loved than to promote ourselves and our agenda.
Call to Action
Spend some time getting to know today’s Saint. Bartholomew is only mentioned in the Bible 6 times: Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14; John 1:45-49, 21:2; and Acts 1:13.
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