Nathanael [Nāthăn'a el]—the gift of god. A native of Cana in Galilee whom Jesus called an Israelite in whom there was no guile (John 1:45-49; 21:2).
Nathanael is supposed to be the same as Bartholomew the Apostle. The name of Nathanael occurs in John but in none of the other gospels. He is introduced at the beginning and at the close of Christ’s ministry. His doubt of Christ’s Messiahship vanished when he met Him, and he was one of the seven to whom the risen Lord manifested Himself at the Lake of Galilee.
It may be that he bore a double name and is referred to as Bartholomew, whom John never mentions, just as the other evangelists never mention Nathanael. The name Bartholomew stands in conjunction with that of Philip. If the rule is accepted that Andrew and Simon are put together because the one led the other to Christ, there is a presumption in favor of Bartholomew of the first three gospels being the same as Nathanael of John’s gospel, from the fact recorded by John only, that it was Philip who brought Nathanael to the Saviour. We reject the tradition that he was the bridegroom at the Cana marriage, or one of the two disciples on the Emmaus road.
Profitable aspects to be developed are these:
I. Nathanael owed his introduction to Jesus to a friend. Have you introduced others to Him?
II. Nathanael was prepared to listen to conversation about Christ. He readily received the witness of one who had found the Messiah. Have you found Him, and are you telling others the story?
III. Nathanael’s hopes were realized in an unexpected way. Often joy and rest come to us from the least expected quarter.
IV. Nathanael accepted the sure test of truth and the sure cure of prejudice. “Come and see,” “Taste and see.”
V. Nathanael’s faith rejoiced the Master, and secured for him the promise of a growing blessing.