His name meas "son of Tolomei" but he is also associated with the person named Nathaniel which means "gift of God". Certainly as Jesus renamed Simon and the Sons of Thunder, he could just have easily given such a moniker to Tolomei's son. He was an Apostle and most likely martyred. That is about all we know about him.
I think what we celebrate about the Apostles is their humanity. So many times the stories we have of them are miraculous and overwhelming but the Scripture we have on them is filled with them putting both of their feet into their mouth.
In John's Gospel he is introduced to Jesus as the long-awaited one by Phillip and his reaction is to bad-mouth Nazareth and therefore Jesus (John 1:45-46) and show skepticism (ibid v. 48) when he does meet him.
In contrast, Jesus sees him and praises this bluntness (ibid v. 47), states he is greater than Jacob, and then proceeds to place him beneath the fig tree, recognizing his desire for messianic peace, as one searching for all that Jesus offers. He understands that Jesus "gets him" and he produces the first official statement of what the others have mentioned: that Jesus is the King, in the line of David, the Messiah.
So like Peter he puts his foot in his mouth and then removes it to make vital and important statements of Faith. Jesus then presses him to take that understanding further: not just "rabbi", "king", not just "son of God" (ibid v. 49), but "the Rabbi", "the King", the "true Son of God" come down from Heaven (ibid v. 50-51).
How often do we let our earthly wisdom or our human skepticism get in the way of acknowledging the Truth? How much God calls us to deeper understanding and relationship within the mystery beyond all human understanding!
Once again, though we know so little about most of them, the Apostles, the chosen of Jesus, fulfill their role as Apostles. They point us away from themselves and toward Christ.
Bartholomew pray for us!
Philip found Nathanael and told him,"We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth." But Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see." Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, "Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him." Nathanael said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree." Nathanael answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel." Jesus answered and said to him, "Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this." And he said to him, "Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."
-- John 1:45-51
Things to Think About