Bartholomew/Nathanael: Additional Information

wood

Good Morning!

If you missed the post about Bartholomew/ Nathanael on Monday, click here.

Blessings,

Mimi

Leave a comment

Filed under bible study, Bible, Faith, disciples

The Twelve Apostles of Jesus: Bartholomew/Nathanael

wood

Good Morning!

The summer series on The Twelve Apostles of Jesus reaches the halfway mark today as we learn about the sixth apostle. This apostle is known by two names: Bartholomew and Nathanael. In the Synoptic gospels, he is called Bartholomew but in the Gospel of John, he is referred to as Nathanael. Scholars, through a process of connecting the dots, believe these two names represent the same man.

“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.”Luke 6:12-16

Bartholomew/Nathanael

The Bible doesn’t contain much information about Bartholomew/Nathanael. Most of the information we have about him is found in John’s Gospel. His name, Bartholomew, is of Chaldee origin and means “son of Tolmai or Ptolemy ” which only reveals to us his father’s title or name. Nathanael, on the other hand, means “gift of God.” Based on the meanings of these two names, scholars have concluded that Nathanael must have been his personal name while Bartholomew was a title identifying him with his father. I will refer to him as Nathanael throughout the rest of this post.

“Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote -Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.” “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that.” John 1:45-50

Nathanael obviously didn’t think too highly of Nazareth according to this passage. He was from Cana in Galilee which was 3 1/2 hours northwest of Nazareth (John 21:1-3). Most of the accounts in scripture about Nathanael place him in close association with Philip. I think we can safely assume they were friends. I know when I experience something life changing I can’t wait to tell my friends and family. I think Philip was no exception. He wanted to share Jesus with his friend. But Nathanael was cautious and skeptical about this huge claim Philip made. He wanted to meet Jesus before he made the same proclamation.

Fig trees provided excellent shade from the sun and a common practice was to sit under the tree’s branches to contemplate and meditate on scripture. Perhaps Nathanael was doing just that when Philip called out to him. What inspired Nathanael to declare that Jesus was the Son of God? Nathanael’s heart must have been open, expectant, and prepared to recognize the Messiah when he came. Some of that time he also spent contemplating on the scriptures might have helped. As Jesus approached Nathanael, he called him “a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.” Jesus saw Nathanael as a man who lived out what he believed. He recognized Nathanael to be a man who was honest, simple, and trusting. I can almost hear the surprise or even wariness in Nathanael’s voice when he asked Jesus how he knew him. Can’t you? Jesus responds to Nathanael by telling him; “I saw you … before Philip called you.” Jesus knew him before Nathanael even knew about Jesus. The same kind of knowing that caused David to write this verse;

“O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.” Psalm 139:1-3

Jesus even told the Twelve that God was so acquainted with them that He had numbered every hair on their head (Matthew 10:30). Jesus knows us and waits for us to hear the call and recognize him. That’s what caused Nathanael to say Jesus was the Son of God.

Questions to Consider

  1. What can I learn from the life of Nathanael about faith?
  2. How receptive am I to respond when Jesus calls?
  3. Am I open, expectant, and prepared to recognize Jesus when He comes again?
  4. Am I willing to confront my prejudices when faced with truth?

Blessings,

Mimi

References: The NIV Study Bible Zondervan Publishing House 1985; Twelve Ordinary Men by John F. MacArthur; The Search for the Twelve Apostles by William S. McBirnie;The Land and the Book by Charles R. Page II and Carl A. Volz; The Daily Study Bible Series on the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John by William Barclay; blueletterbible.org

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, bible study, disciples, Faith

Lights of the City by Phil Driscoll

Leave a comment

Filed under disciples, heaven, music

Philip: Additional Information

wood

Good Morning!

If you missed the post about Philip on Monday, click here.

Blessings,

Mimi

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, disciples, Faith

The Twelve Apostles of Jesus: Philip

wood

Good Morning!

Our attention is turned towards the Apostle Philip today. To learn more about Peter, Andrew, James, or John, click on their name.

“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.”Luke 6:12-16

Philip

Few references are found in scripture about Philip the Apostle. He is only mentioned in the listings of the Twelve Apostles (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14) found in the Synoptic Gospels. However, the Gospel of John contains several accounts highlighting Philip.

“The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida.” John 1:43-44

Growing up in a coastal village, Philip probably knew how to fish. The biblical texts are quiet concerning his occupation but he might have been a fisherman like the others we have studied. Bethsaida means “House of the Fisher” and was located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee about 3 1/2 miles from Capernaum. This ancient fishing village most likely had a small population. Capernaum was a much larger town and had approximately 1,500 inhabitants. Therefore, the possibility exists that Philip would’ve known Peter and Andrew before being called by Jesus. I also think that Philip and John knew one another since John’s gospel contains the most references about him.

“Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote -Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.”John 1:45-46

Like Andrew, who couldn’t wait to share the news of Jesus with his brother (John 1:41), Philip went and found his friend Nathanael (Bartholomew) to tell him about Jesus. Philip recognized in Jesus the characteristics of the Messiah that the Jews had been awaiting. He had an open and seeking heart that knew Jesus was special.

“Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.” John 12:20-22

Passover was the celebration that the Greeks were attending. They may have been proselytes to Judaism or only believers in God that came to worship in the synagogue during the Feast. The verse implies that these Greeks approached Philip specifically. Maybe, he was the most accessible of the Apostles to these men or maybe, he was chosen because he had a Greek name. Philip means “lover of horses”. Since scripture doesn’t record any biographical information about Philip, speculation among scholars abounds about why he has a Greek name and not a Hebrew name. Curious, isn’t it? These verses also reveal that either Philip was hesitant to approach Jesus about their request and sought Andrew’s help or that a chain of command existed among the apostles.

“When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” John 6:5-7

A crowd had been following Jesus all day. Evening approached and the disciples’ suggested to Jesus that he send the crowds home to eat (Matthew 14:15). Jesus turned to Philip and asked how they should manage feeding the people. Was he wondering if Philip would think outside of the box or that he would rely on normal means? They were located close to Bethsaida so perhaps Jesus felt Philip would know the best local place for food. Philip did show off his math skills by calculating the cost and their deficit to meet the need. He would never have imagined the miracle he was about to witness as Jesus took the five small loaves of bread and the two fish and fed this hungry crowd of five thousand. Isn’t that the point? Jesus was revealing to Philip that he could provide abundantly.

“Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.”” John 14:8-11

What Jesus had been telling his disciples prior to these verses was incredibly confusing, sorrow-inducing, and mind-blowing for them. He had washed their feet, had told them that one of their own number would betray him, had told them that he was leaving them, and had tried to comfort them in their confusion and grief over all he had stated. Philip, wanting to make certain they would be with him and know him, made a request of Jesus that for a Jew would be considered an impossibility. No one had ever seen God and lived with the exception of Moses seeing the back of God as He passed by (Exodus 33:22-23). Yet, Jesus states “[a]nyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” Philip had seen many miracles and had walked with Jesus a long time. He had quickly followed him in the beginning and recognized that Jesus was the One of whom the Law and the prophets had spoken. But Philip still struggled with complete belief, trust, and understanding about who Jesus was. Jesus wanted Philip to stretch his mind and heart and believe.

Questions to Consider

  1. What can I learn from the life of Philip about faith?
  2. Do I struggle with believing in Jesus?
  3. Have I seen miracles in my life or around me that point to God?
  4. What have I seen or learned about God or Jesus that has increased my faith?

Blessings,

Mimi

References: The NIV Study Bible Zondervan Publishing House 1985; Twelve Ordinary Men by John F. MacArthur; The Search for the Twelve Apostles by William S. McBirnie;The Land and the Book by Charles R. Page II and Carl A. Volz; The Daily Study Bible Series on the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John by William Barclay; blueletterbible.org

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, bible study, disciples, Faith, Scripture quotes

Twelve Apostles of Jesus, Sanctus Catholic Hymn

Leave a comment

Filed under disciples, music

John: Additional Information

wood

Good Morning!

If you missed the post about John on Monday, click here.

Blessings,

Mimi

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, bible study, disciples, Faith