S194P9 – Voices of the martyrs: Bartholomew

Acts 1:12-14

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

The soldiers had been without their captain for many days.  They did not know where he was, and they knew that they could not move without first confirming his whereabouts and communicating with him.  They waited and waited, and discouragement began to set in.  Then, the captain appeared at the crest of a hill and began to make his way toward camp.  The soldiers were excited, but the captain would not stay.  He had been called to another place but was sending a replacement.  The captain advised his soldiers to await this new leader for their instructions, which made them feel as if their work had stopped, so they sat as they waited.  What they should have been doing was preparing while they waited. 

Bartholomew spent time with Jesus and the other disciples while the Lord was fulfilling his ministry on Earth.  He had grown close to his Lord and Savior just like the others, and he missed him dearly when He was gone.  The appearance of Christ would have been a genuine answer to prayer, but the Lord would not stay long.  He would leave them again but promised to send the Holy Spirit.  He instructed Bartholomew and the others to go to Jerusalem, where they could have waited still and quiet for the Spirit to come.  Instead, this disciple shared in words of prayer with his brothers and sisters in order to prepare for the arrival of the comforter.  Their time of waiting was not wasted but put to good spiritual use. 

Bartholomew’s words matched those of his brethren.  They agreed in prayer as they awaited their helper.  This was a time of spiritual preparation, of drawing close to God, of keeping one another encouraged while they watched for the will of God to unfold.  Historic record indicates that Bartholomew likely was beaten and scourged before being beheaded.  In that time of waiting before knowing his fate, he surely had to be preparing spiritually for the will of God to manifest.  Perhaps the practice of actively waiting with his brothers and sisters would have prepared him to do so alone in those last hours.  Father, teach us to wait upon You not with idle hands and closed mouths but with active feet and many prayers.