MONTERREY, MEXICO – In a news release this week, Cervecería Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma, brewer of Dos Equis beer, revealed that it has crowned Bartholomew the Apostle as the latest “Most Interesting Man in the World.” Dos Equis, who receives its authority to award this title directly from social media, closely guards selection criteria for the coveted title, valuing the details of this process as intellectual property more dear than the recipe of its beer.
In the Google Live announcement ceremony, the Dos Equis spokesman excitedly declared, “Bartholomew is an obvious choice due to the diversity of traditions surrounding the apostle. Nailed (literally) to the wall of the temple in Hierapolis, sold as a slave to a camel owner in Egypt, BFF of the royal family in India, and flayed by Armenians, Bartholomew had an active life and well deserves the MIMW title. The apostle was obviously committed to his cause given the thousand-yard stare he gave to strident opposition at every turn. True to MIMW form, the details of his final quietus remain uncertain.” The selection gained immediate widespread approval across the internet, solidly validating the choice.
As a direct consequence of the apostle’s new designation, municipalities in southwest Turkey, Armenia, and India have all experienced a dramatic up-tick in tourism with visitors seeking to recreate the Bartholomew Experience. Local shopkeepers report brisk sales of reliquary in levels unseen in 1,500 years.
Subsequent to the initial announcement, the brewery has gone on record saying, “we’re not sure we’re excited about the martyrdom part of Bartholomew’s story – we misunderstood flaying to be a rock climbing term.”
An anonymous source close to the MIMW selection process confirmed that a runner-up to the apostle was Biola Professor of Christian Apologetics, Dr. Sean McDowell, due to his megastar speaking tour, omnipresence in the Christian blogosphere, and rad collection of superhero t-shirts.
Satire aside… The legacy of Bartholomew the Apostle is typical of the strong apologetic history left by the twelve apostles of Jesus. Bartholomew had the intense training and personal contact with Jesus as all the apostles. He was present when the resurrected Jesus charged his followers to evangelize outside of Judea and establish the foundations of the New Covenant with Gentiles and Jews alike. As one of the lesser-known apostles, there is virtually no record of his work after Pentecost within scripture. There are, however, a variety of widespread accounts in early non-canon literature of his mission activities in the face of extreme adversity and risk of being put to death. In fact, his prevalence in later apocryphal and Gnostic writings suggests that the early church may have been quite knowledgeable of Bartholomew’s extensive activity to spread the gospel based on his faithful certainty of a resurrected Jesus.
Several and varied traditions place Bartholomew in situations both life threatening and life ending. One such history has Bartholomew traveling to Hierapolis in Turkey to evangelize along with his fellow apostle Philip. Crucified along with Philip, Bartholomew survived and was released. Another story has him compelled to minister in Egypt. Denied entrance to the country, he surreptitiously made his way by having Peter sell him as a slave to a camel dealer. As their patron saint, Armenians believe Bartholomew was one of the earliest believers to bring Christianity to their region. Some accounts hold that Bartholomew was flayed (skinned alive) and entombed in Armenia. Finally, a few historians believe that Bartholomew made his way to India and was martyred there by indigenous religious leaders threatened by the impact he made on local royalty. Notable is the lack of any accounts that Bartholomew ever recanted his belief that Jesus had come back to life after being crucified and then empowered his followers to share this belief far and wide.
Even though all accounts of Bartholomew were written many years after his death, they lend great weight to a true historicity that the apostle was actively engaged in spreading the word of a risen Jesus even in the face of extreme adversity. Dr. Sean MacDowell concludes in his book The Fate of the Apostles, Examining the Martyrdom Accounts of the Closest Followers of Jesus that it is very probably true that Bartholomew engaged in missionary work outside of Jerusalem and as plausible as not that he experienced martyrdom. Given these probabilities we can be quite certain Bartholomew was convinced that Jesus had been resurrected, spoke the truth and eye witnessed events of such value that he was willing to face persecution and even martyrdom if necessary to spread the revolutionary news of Jesus.
Guest Contributor: Fred Schlich