Reflections: August 24, 2020
St. Bartholomew, Apostle
By Mark Buetow
But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. (Luke 22:26)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Luke tells us there was an argument among the apostles as to who was greatest. He doesn't list names but we can suppose Bartholomew was in on it. Of course we know Peter, James, and John were kind of an "inner circle" of Jesus and maybe the other guys were jealous. At any rate, none of that is the point. Jesus came to do the serving. He came to do the bearing of the sins, the dying on the Cross, the rising from the dead. When He sends His apostles it is also to be servants. They are just supposed to do their job of preaching the Good News.
It's easy to want to be the top dog. They want some recognition and glory perhaps. Don't we all? That's why Jesus teaches them--and us--that His kingdom doesn't work that way. In the Church, preachers are given to serve us with Jesus' gifts. They're there to baptize, preach, and give Jesus' Body and Blood. In short, pastors are there to give us Jesus' forgiveness! Likewise we are given to be servants to our neighbors, to put others first and to love others in doing good to them.
Tradition says Bartholomew preached the Gospel as far away as Armenia and there was flayed alive as a martyr. In the end, what matters is not Bartholomew for his own sake but that he faithfully preached the Good News of Jesus even unto death. Today we give thanks for this Israelite in whom there was no deceit (John 1:47). Even though he may have been in on the argument as to who was greatest, the Lord still used him to preach the Good News of a Savior who saves us and makes us great in the kingdom of God. 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. ("By All Your Saints in Warfare" LSB 518, st. 23)
-Rev. Mark Buetow is the pastor of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church and School in McHenry, Illinois.
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