(Reminder: I’m doing another A to Z devotional.)
You may know that Bartholomew was one of the 12 disciples we see in the New Testament. He’s also known as Nathanael. When Jesus saw him, He made an interesting comment regarding Bart’s character:
“Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” (John 1:47 KJV)
What in the world is guile? Certainly not a word we hear every day, is it?
Definition: Crafty or artful deception. Insidious cunning in attaining a goal.
If Bart (or Nate) had no guile, what did he have that was attractive to Jesus? We can find the answer in a few different translations/paraphrases of the same Scripture:
“Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!”
(John 1:47 NKJ)
We’re often hard-pressed to find people who live with absolutely no deceit. Let’s look at a couple of other descriptions in Scripture:
“As they approached, Jesus said, “Here comes an honest man—a true son of Israel.” (John 1:47 LB)
There’s a feeling of relief to be with someone who’s honest. We know we can absolutely trust that person.
“. . . not a false bone in his body.” (John 1:47 Message)
So when we hear Christ’s description of Bartholomew, we realize this disciple had no guile, was an honest man, had absolutely no deceit and didn’t have a false bone in his body.
Wow. What an amazing compliment from the omniscient One—He who knows all. If there had been any deceit, Christ would have seen it immediately.
THIS is the kind of life God desires us to live. How is that possible? Through the power of the Holy Spirit . . . and by making Psalm 139:23-24 a daily prayer:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test my thoughts. Point out anything you find in me that makes you sad and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (Psalm 139:23-24 LB)
One more thing about Bartholomew: Tradition says he was executed in Armenia. According to popular hagiography, the apostle was flayed alive and beheaded. According to other accounts he was crucified upside down (head downward) like Peter. He is said to have been martyred for having converted Polymius, the king of Armenia, to Christianity.
Not only was Bart a man of integrity and full of God’s Spirit, he was willing to die for His Savior and Lord.
Let’s aspire to be more like Bartholomew.
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I’d really appreciate your prayers as I search for a youth pastor. We only have 5 teens. So I’m looking for someone with a HUGE vision and who’s not afraid of a lot of work.