Reflections: St. Bartholomew, Apostle

Today’s Reading: Luke 22: 24-30

Daily Lectionary: 1 Kings 5:1-16; 2 Corinthians 1:23-2:17 

“But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.” (Luke 22:26)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. St. Bartholomew is my favorite apostle. He’s the Charlie Brown of the blessed Twelve. He’s the kid who never fits in. He has one of the best lines in Scripture, as the first person to recognize the divinity of Jesus, but John calls him by the wrong name because John’s too busy nursing a grudge he still has with Peter 40 years after they argued about who the greatest is. Bartholomew never got to do any of the cool apostle stuff like see the Transfiguration. After Luke closed the letter to Theophilus by talking about the all-stars, like Peter and Paul, St. Bart was martyred in modern-day Turkey for faithful preaching. They skinned him alive. So the Roman Catholics made him the patron saint of leatherworkers, which is amazing. They pray to the guy who got skinned alive for wallets. And this dude just points to Jesus, despite being overlooked and degraded. And he still sings for us in heaven with angels and archangels and the rest of the bunch. 

In the movies, he would get superpowers and finally be the cool kid. Or take off his glasses so everyone at the dance would see he’s been handsome all along. In the movies, people like Bartholomew aren’t the main character unless something extraordinary happens. In real life, Bart was never the main character, but he served. There is no real lordship in being the greatest, just idolatry. See St. Bart, patron saint of the bullied and the neglected. Praying to him won’t get you a wallet or a moment in the spotlight. He’d rather you pray to Jesus, whom he confessed as Lord, whom he faced the grave to meet in the resurrection. If you see yourself in St. Bart, know that the Lord sees you, too, and joins you as the same. He is the One who serves. He is the One who bears the Cross for those who can’t save themselves. He is the One who gathers into Sabbath rest those who find none in this place. And He knows your name, and calls you out of this vale of tears to the resurrection, to sing with the blessed saints who have gone before you, while the angels sing along. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. 

For Barnabas we praise You, Who kept Your law of love And, leaving earthly treasures, Sought riches from above. O Christ, our Lord and Savior, Let gifts of grace descend, That Your true consolation May through the world extend. (“By All Your Saints in Warfare” LSB 518, st.7)

-Rev. Harrison Goodman is content executive for Higher Things.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.