Day 4 of the Waiting Room & Day 44 of the Omer
The Messiah picked His “Disciples by the Dozen”, and the Twelve became Apostles [minus Judas], after the Holy Spirit came upon them, as Yeshua prophesied! This happened on Shavuot [the Feast of Weeks], also known from the Greek as “Pentecost” [meaning 50 Days].
Imagine what the Disciples felt after their Messiah was seemingly dead, and what they probably thought was going to be their fatal ending too, as His followers. Let’s look at the “Supporting Circle”, since Day 1 of the “WAITING ROOM” we examined the “Inner Circle” of Simon Peter [Shim’on Kefa], James [Ya’akov] and John [Yochanan], and yesterday we focused on Philip, the “First Disciple”, who was part of the “Supporting Circle”, along with Andrew [Simon Peter’s brother] and Nathanael [Natan’El, Bar-Talemei].
The Supporting Circle:
4. Andrew – Brother of Simon Peter; Fisherman
5. Philip – Friend of Bartholomew; Fisherman
6. Bartholomew (Nathanael) – Fisherman
Today Let’s “zone in” on Bartholomew:
Bartholomew (probably a surname: Natan’El, Bar-Talemei) in Aramaic is Bar (son) Talamei or “Son of Talemei”. Talemai probably infers he was from Ptolemais. His Hebrew birth name was Nathanael (Natan’El means –“Given by God”), according to the Apostle John (John.1:46-51). Nathanael (known by his surname, Bartholomew) apparently was a friend of Philip. He was from Cana of Galilee (John 21:2) so he was probably acquainted with the other apostles from Galilee. It is also safe to say, based on John 21:2 that before following Yeshua, he was a fishermen. Only one passage in the Bible really tells us anything about him – John 1:45-51. The way that Philip approached him indicates that Nathanael was a searcher of scripture and a seeker of divine truth. “We have found the one scripture told us about!” Nathanael knew that the Moses, the law and the prophets had promised a Messiah. The weakness in his character however was his sin of prejudice. “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” he asked. Prejudice is an uncalled-for generalization based on feelings of superiority. It is an ugly sin to make personal assumptions and public accusations against people based on their race, regional background, nationality or any other generalization. The fact that someone is different does not of itself make them inferior, lazy, stupid or dangerous. God is not a respecter of persons. Every person is of equal value to God. It was wrong for Nathanael to assume every person from Nazareth was “no-good” and it is wrong for us to be prejudice. Wisely, Philip did not answer Nathanael’s question. He simply invited Nathanael to meet Yeshua and find out for himself. It is to Nathanael’s credit that he did not allow his prejudice to keep him from going to Yeshua, v.47. Upon seeing Nathanael, Yeshua testified as to the sincerity of his heart. “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile.” [He was most likely reading about the Torah Portion about Jacob’s Ladder, in Parashat Vayetze, in Gen. 28:10-32:3], and the “deceit” in Jacob’s life towards his brother, Esau]. In other words, Nathanael had no hypocrisy or deceit [probably . Nathanael wondered out loud how Yeshua could claim to know him. Yeshua answered by revealing his omniscience. He sees and knows all things. Immediately, Nathanael believed in Yeshua and confessed him as Messiah, the Son of God and the King of Israel. It did not take a long time or a lot of proof for Nathanael to believe. He saw, he understood and he believed. Yeshua promised that he would see greater things, vs. 50-51.
Nathanael [or Natan-El in Hebrew, which means “Given by God”], was probably a “Gift from God” of honetsy and integrity, in the “upper room” living quarters of the disciples [Acts 1:13], as they prayed and encouraged each other [Acts 1:14] in the Scriptures that revealed the Coming Holy Spirit [Ruach HaKodesh], or “Promise of the Father”. Maybe Nathanael, shared the early morning “devotion”, of Scripture Reading, to talk about the “Gift of God”, or Spirit of God [Ruach Elohim], that would come to fulfill Shavuot [also known from the Greek Septuagint, as Pentecosta, or “Pentecost”].
Every night the “upper room” was their sleeping quarter, or guest room on the upper level of a Jerusalem home, but the every morning after giving “Thanks” to HaShem [“Modeh Ani” prayer is an example of thanks to HaShem”], they would “shlep” over to the Temple for “Counting the Omer” celebration. While Peter was at times fearful, in the of the persecution they might receive, for being Yeshua’s followers and disciples since His Death[Matt. 26:69-75], Nathanael [or his “surname”, Bartholomew – Bar-Talemai: “Son of Talemei”] was probably eager to get up, leave the “upper room”, to get to the “House of the LORD [Adonai]” and hear the Scriptures being read [Luke 24:53; Acts 2:46].
We should be quick to embrace Yeshua as our “Messiah”, the “King of Israel”, just like Nathanael. We should also walk in the integrity of Nathanael, just like Jacob, with some deceit in his life towards Esau, was transformed to “Israel” [YiSRa-El, a “prince with God” [Sar-El], who “strove” [sarita] with God and man to become the ruling “prince” [sar] that he was meant to be [Gen. 32].