Devotional--Nathanael, The Sixth Disciple
By Richard Moser, Jr.
The sixth Disciple in our study is known by two names--Nathanael or Bartholomew. The Gospel writers Matthew, Mark, and John call this man by the name of Nathanael. Luke, on the other hand, lists him as Bartholomew. The name Nathanael means "Gift of God."
Interestingly, Nathanael's or Bartholomew's name always follows Philip's name in the lists of Disciples. One reason for this may be that Philip went to Nathanael, to tell him about Jesus. John informs us, "Philip found Nathanael and told him, 'We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote--Jesus of nazareth, the son of Joseph.'" (John 1:45, NIV)
Nathanael expressed doubts saying, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46) When he met Jesus, Nathanael soon recognized Jesus as the Son of God.
We don't know very much about Nathanael. Although we know he was from the region of Galilee, we have no information as to his profession. Nathanael is not mentioned by name again in the Gospels, until after the Resurrection, when Jesus appeared to some of the Disciples while they were fishing. (John 21:1)
After Jesus' Ascension, Nathanael became a missionary. Christian tradition holds that Nathanael carried a copy of the Gospel of Matthew to northern India. Nathanael was crucified upside-down in what is today Albania. He died while he was spreading the Good News of Jesus.