Today's Reading: John 1:43-51
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!" (John 1:47)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Bartholomew (who is also called Nathanael in John's Gospel) wondered if anything good could come from Galilee. What honesty! How could the Messiah, the Savior, come from Galilee? Nothing good comes from Galilee. Jesus tells Bartholomew that he is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit! No mincing words by Bartholomew. No hiding what he thinks! Yet when Jesus says that He saw Bartholomew under the tree, he believes in Jesus!
It's easy, though, to think that nothing good can come from Galilee! It's hard to think that this guy, Jesus, is God in the flesh. Hard to believe, yes impossible to believe, that this Jesus can carry the sins of the world to the cross of Calvary and get rid of them. Hard to believe that water in a font can wash away your sins, that the words spoken by your pastor actually forgive you before God. Impossible for us to believe that bread and wine are the body and blood of Jesus.
So we see Bartholomew confess that Jesus is the Christ, but is this just because he was amazed at the miraculous ability Jesus demonstrated? Jesus said He will see greater things: angels going up and down between earth and heaven on the Son of Man. It is in Jesus that God has come down to earth and that we are brought up to heaven. Jesus, suspended on the cross between heaven and earth, takes away our sins and brings us back to the Father.
Now, there is no deceit in you! Your confession of Jesus is given to you by the Spirit. As Bartholomew, you declare that Jesus is the Christ. He has forgiven your sins. Baptism now saves you. Absolution is as if God Himself has spoken. The body and blood of Jesus give forgiveness, life and salvation, for there is no deceit in Jesus. His words are true and by trusting in them, we, too, have no sin counted against us. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
All praise for him whose candor Through all his doubt You saw When Philip at the fig tree Disclosed You in the law. Discern, beneath our surface, O Lord, what we can be, That by Your truth made guileless, Your glory we may see. (LSB 518:23)