Andrew, the Apostle of Jesus Christ

Our knowledge of Andrew from the Bible is limited, as his name occurs only 12 times in the New Testament. In Matthew, Mark and Luke, his name is mentioned mostly in the list of apostles (Mt. 10.2; Mk. 3.18; Lk. 6.14). Only on three occasions he is mentioned outside of the list of the apostles (Mk. 1.16; 1.29, 13.3). Although Andrew was one of the Apostles, Acts of the Apostles mentions him only once, i.e. in the list of apostles (Acts 1.13).

Only in the Gospel of John, Andrew becomes more than a name (i.e. a name mentioned in the list of apostles). In this Gospel we gain a clearer picture of his character and activity (Jn. 1.35-44; 6.8-9; 12.20-22).

1. Basic Details of Andrew

Andrew was the son of John, brother of Simon Peter, a native of Bethsaida in Galilee and a fisherman by trade. Although Andrew was a native of Bethsaida, he later moved to Capernaum (Mk. 1.16, 17).

Andrew, whose name means “manly” or “courageous”, was the first disciple of Jesus Christ. Before he became a disciple of Jesus Christ, he was a follower of John, the Baptist.

2. Character of Andrew

Though he is not as much visible as his brother Peter does, his life teaches us several important lessons.

a. Andrew – A Man of Humility

Andrew is described in the New Testament primarily as the brother of Peter, although he was the one who brought Peter to Jesus Christ. He was scarcely more than a name, almost completely overshadowed by his brother. Even though Andrew was the first disciple of Jesus, he was not a member of the inner circle of Jesus. Peter, James and John became the members of that intimate group and were with Jesus on special occasions such as the healing of Jairus’ daughter (Mk. 5.37) and Jesus’ transfiguration (Mk. 9.2).

Thus, Andrew never reached a place of “prominence”. But he never craved for a place of honour. Also he did not show envy of those who played the lead role. Andrew was more concerned with serving than building his reputation. His attitude was opposite to that of James and John, who asked Jesus for places of honour (Mk. 10.35-40). Humble Andrew was content with his role and labored quietly and with deep commitment to serve God.

b. Andrew – An Honest Seeker

Andrew and another disciple heard John, the Baptist, say about Jesus, “Look, here is the Lamb of God” (Jn. 1.35-36). Regardless of the fact that John did not speak to them directly, regardless of the fact that John did not volunteer to introduce them to Jesus, they acted upon what they heard.

Seeing them following him, Jesus said, “What are you looking for?” Notice, Jesus did not say, “Whom are you looking for?” but “What are you looking for?” This is a question to search their hearts for the motive behind their quest.

As the popularity of Jesus grew, the multitude sought him for healing (Mt. 4.23-25), and for loaves and fishes. They would make him a king so that their food problem might be permanently solved (Jn. 6.15).

It is not often that people give themselves up to honest, penetrating examination of their own motives and desires in following Jesus. What are we looking for, anyway?

Andrew and the other disciple responded to Jesus’ searching question, “Rabbi, where are you staying?” (Jn. 1.38). This query expresses their desire to know Jesus. Honouring their desire, Jesus invited them at once, “Come and see” (Jn. 1.39).

So much awaits the one who seeks Jesus with a genuine desire to know him: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burden, and I will give you rest” (Mt. 11.28); “Come” “Let everyone who is thirsty come” (Rev. 22.17).

The meeting of Andrew and the other disciple brings sharply before us the fact that there is no substitute for a personal experience of Jesus. The testimony of John, the Baptist, was helpful to these seekers, but they could not rest in that. They must see Jesus for themselves.

It is so today. One is not saved by another’s faith, nor nurtured by another’s spiritual experience. A pastor, Sunday School teacher, parent or friend may perform the valuable service of testifying about Jesus Christ. But one must come to Jesus for herself/himself to be saved and to enter upon a life of fellowship with Jesus.

c. Andrew – A Man of Strong Convictions

When Andrew found that Jesus was the Messiah, he looked for his brother Peter, shared his conviction about Jesus and brought him to Jesus. His strong conviction enabled him to encourage Peter to become a disciple of Jesus, the Messiah. His faith and joy beckoned him to tell somebody about what he discovered.

Good news is hard to keep. This is as it should be. Information that benefits one will help others as well. This is true of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Andrew became a witness, going to work at once in the task of spreading the good tidings.

d. Andrew – A Man of Positive Outlook (Jn. 6.1-14)

Jesus’ feeding the five thousand illustrates Andrew as a man with a positive outlook. Jesus was concerned about the condition of the crowd that had been listening to him teach for a long time. Hungry and tired, they needed food to eat. So Jesus turned to Philip and asked him where they could buy food.

Didn’t Jesus know how much it costs and that he didn’t have money to buy? Yes, he knew that he could not afford to buy food for this crowd. If so, why did he ask Philip “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” (Jn. 6.5). The Bible says that Jesus asked this probing question in order to test Philip’s faith in him. Philip immediately calculated how much money was needed and told Jesus that it would cost 200 denarii (one denarus was a day’s wage of a laborer).

Calculating how much money was needed is not wrong. Jesus himself encouraged to count the cost in the context of discipleship (Lk. 14.28-32). What Jesus tested Philip was NOT whether his disciple would calculate the cost, but whether his disciple would look to him for solution after calculating the cost. Philip’s answer seemed to suggest that his eyes were on the enormity of the problem than on his master who had the ability to solve the problem. In a way, he was telling Jesus how much bread they didn’t have, how impossible the task was. It seemed overwhelming and impossible. It was all that Philip focused on.

Then Andrew walked up. He had been quietly working on the problem himself. But all he had been able to find was a boy carrying his food – five barley loaves and two fish. Mind you, barley loaves was the food of the poor in those days. Andrew presented his “solution” to his master, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?” (Jn. 6.9). Though Andrew knew what he found was inadequate, yet he informed Jesus what was available.

While Philip looked at the issue from a negative perspective, here was Andrew trying to look for a positive solution. Philip looked at the enormity of the problem that made him inadequate, weak and inactive, while Andrew looked at the enormity of the problem as well as his master, and brought to Jesus the little he found. Jesus turned this little into much and fed the hungry.

The human spirit is so prone to negativism, the focus on what we can’t do and what we don’t have…. When we become so tied up in focusing on what we don’t have, we lose choice opportunities to let God use what we do have!

There is a rich lesson for us to learn here.

i. We should look not only at the problem/issue but also at our God.
ii. We should not focus on what we don’t have. Instead, we should focus on what we have, no matter how small or little it is, submit it to God and let him use it for his good purpose.

e. Andrew – A Man of Global Outlook (Jn. 12.20-22)

Andrew showed a global outlook, by ushering the Greeks (foreigners) to meet Jesus. It would have been easy to completely dismiss the Greeks and their request, as there was racial and religious prejudice. But Andrew was not that kind of a person. He believed that everyone had access to Jesus, and no one could ever be a nuisance to Jesus, if that person was seeking the truth. Through his initial experience, he knew how important it was for people to come to Jesus in order to know him!

3. Andrew’s Death

Andrew’s death is not recorded in the Bible. But church tradition says that Andrew was crucified on an “X” shaped cross. He seemed to have requested those who crucified him that he not be crucified in the normal position, feeling unworthy to die as his Lord Jesus. So his cross was turned on its side to form an “X”.

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2 Responses to “Andrew, the Apostle of Jesus Christ”

  1. keijo leppioja Says:

    SO nice that get be disciples to Christ that last time and share his love around us to telling his salvation in blood and that get the Holy Spirit are very great gift in Jesus name ,thanks and bless,keijo sweden

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