St. Bartholomew the Apostle

St. Bartholomew the Apostle                    16 September  2018 A.D.

Psalm 91         First Lesson. Genesis. 28:10-12,16-17       Second Lesson. St. John 1:43-51
              O ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst give to 
                              thine Apostle Bartholomew grace truly to believe and 
                              to preach thy Word; Grant, we beseech thee, unto thy Church 
                              to love that Word which he believed, and both to preach and
                              receive the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord.           Amen.

43 The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.
44 Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.
45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.
47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!
48 Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.
49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.
50 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.
51 And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

Bartholomew a.k.a. Nathanael*
1. son of Tolmai, one of the twelve apostles (Matt. 10:3; Acts 1:13); generally supposed to have been the same as Nathanael. In the synoptic gospels Philip and Bartholomew are always mentioned together, while Nathanael is never mentioned; in the fourth gospel, on the other hand, Philip and Nathanael are similarly mentioned together, but nothing is said of Bartholomew. He was one of the disciples to whom our Lord appeared at the Sea of Tiberias after his resurrection (John 21:2). He was also a witness of the Ascension (Acts 1:4, 12, 13). He was an "Israelite indeed" (John 1:47).
   I have discussed with fellow clergy over the years, the importance of biographies and even auto-biographies as an integral part of learning, especially when it comes to our spiritual journey.   After all, isn’t the Bible filled with many biographies ?  We can read about Adam, David, Jonah, Jesus, Paul and many others in our daily reading of the Bible, the Word of God.   What can we make of this ?  Well in the short term, we can learn by example.   In the long term we can learn by example.   Wait, didn’t you just repeat yourself ?  Yes.   A godly example can teach us many things about living in a godless world.   And for that matter, a godless example can teach us what NOT to do in a godless world.   There are a few godless examples shown in the Word of God.    What not follow, so in both senses a good example, all coming from the Word of God. 
Examples; a blue-print or template for daily living. 
  So let us look at this fellow named Bartholomew or Nathanael.*   At first we get an idea that he may be somewhat sarcastic. “...can there any good come out of Nazareth?”  This is Bartholomew’s response to Philip telling him about this Jesus.  This region of occupied Palestine, Nazareth, wasn’t known for much good or for that matter bad, maybe just blase’.  Philip, his friend then entreats Bartholomew to come see about these fellow Jesus of Nazareth.          Something to remember, Jesus is the Greek name for the Hebrew Joshua.   So when Philip says come see this Jesus that would not have been an uncommon name.   What gives significance to Philip’s statement, he says “ whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write...”.   Now Philip is giving Bartholomew a reason to come see this Jesus guy.  
   It is Jesus turn to show Bartholomew who he, Jesus is.  Bartholomew asks Jesus how he knows him, Jesus answers ‘...I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you...’   Notice Bartholomew’s response. He acknowledges Jesus as a teacher {rabbi}, and more especially, the Son of God and King of Israel.     Jesus now foretells much more than just seeing Bartholomew under the fig tree, he tell the future apostle that he will see many greater things including the heavens opening up with angels ascending and descending on earth.   Here Jesus makes a direct reference to Jacob’s dream, the so called ‘Jacob’s ladder’.  
   I look at this reference to Jacob as Jesus showing the disciples that in the same way Jacob was the start of the twelve tribes i.e. physical Israel, these fellows now being called would be the physical/spiritual founders of the church on earth.   The twelve would be the extension in taking the mission started by Jesus to the utmost parts of the earth.   How, you say ?  Well other than with the possibility of  Mark or Thomas going to Egypt or India, most of the other apostles will remain in the area where Jesus taught.  It would be the second and third generations of Christians, the followers of Christ who would spread the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth.   And as with Israel they started out with twelve, but through the process of leading others to Christ, both by example and by the Word, the church would continue to grow to this day .
   As modern day Christians essentially living in a ‘post-modern’ world, we need to live our lives as a ‘living’ biography.   Just recently I read of a nineteenth century evangelist who made a comment about Christians during his day.  “...many people know the four gospels but have never read them, instead they read the fifth gospel.  The fifth gospel is the daily life of a Christian that is ‘read’ by non-believers.   These non-believers may never have read the four Gospels, but they certainly read the fifth one...”    What are non-believers reading in that fifth gospel ?   Are we showing by example, by biographic nature a gospel that is not parallel to the Gospel of Jesus ?
     As followers of Jesus Christ the Son of God, we need to display by our lives, our actions, our very being the true Gospel of Jesus.    We need to show by example, we need to show by our biographies, that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father but by Him.
    Folks, let us live our lives for Jesus. He gave his life for us. 

Let us pray:

O ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst give to thine Apostle Bartholomew grace truly to believe and to preach thy Word; Grant, we beseech thee, unto thy Church to love that Word which he believed, and both to preach and receive the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

O Almighty and everlasting God, we give most high praise and hearty thanks for the wonderful grace and virtue declared in all his saints, who have been the choice vessels of his grace and the lights of the world in their several generations; and pray unto God, that we may have grace to direct our lives after their good examples; that, this life ended, we may be made partakers with them of the glorious resurrection, and the life everlasting.   Amen

ALMIGHTY God, the supreme Governor of all things, whose power no creature is able to resist, to whom it belongeth justly to punish sinners, and to be merciful to those who truly repent; Save and deliver us, we humbly beseech thee, from the hands of our enemies; that we, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore from all perils, to glorify thee, who art the only giver of all victory; through the merits of thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

   May 2019   
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