Prayer: Holy Spirit, lead us through your Word, in Christ. Amen.
49 Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
Today the church calendar remembers Bartholomew, who is also called Nathanael in John’s gospel. He was invited to see Jesus by Philip, also one of Jesus’ disciples. They were both followers of John the Baptist and had likely seen Jesus before, or knew of Him. Note that Nathanael is impressed that Jesus saw him sitting under a fig tree when Philip told him to come and see Jesus. In this meeting, Nathanael believes and knows that Jesus is the Son of God and the King of Israel. He sees the truth and tells it.
Our devotion writer tells us that the name Bartholomew literally means “son of furrows” or perhaps “ploughman.” There is no reference to his occupation in the gospels, but perhaps he was a farmworker and it would make sense as Jesus called common workers to follow Him. Fishermen, a farmworker, and a tax collector all came to confess Jesus as Lord. Today, people of all professions call Jesus Lord. “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel.”
Prayer: Holy One, we give you thanks for Bartholomew. Help us to follow his example, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael
43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49 Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”