Summary: What made Andrew and Philip special?

A recent archaeological dig in Israel unearthed this rather interesting papyrus:

A recent archaeological dig in Israel unearthed this rather interesting papyrus:

To: Jesus bar Joseph,

The Carpenter’s Arms,

Nazareth village


From: The Ebenezer Management Consultants,


Dear Sir:

Thank you for submitting the resumes of the twelve men you have picked for management positions in your new organization.

We have run the results of your evaluation of these men through our computer and have also reviewed the results with our psychologist and our vocational-aptitude consultant.

It is the staff’s opinion that most of your nominees are lacking in the basic background, education, and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking.

They do not have the team concept.

We would recommend that you continue searching for persons of experience in managerial ability and proven capability.

Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper. Andrew and Philip have absolutely no leadership qualities.

The two brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, place personal interest above company loyalty.

Thomas demonstrates a rather unsettling questioning attitude that would tend to undermine morale.

We feel it is our duty to tell you that Matthew and his brother James the son of Alpheus have both left the tax collecting industry and have both been blacklisted by the Greater Jerusalem Chamber of Commerce.

Thaddeus and Nathanael definitely have radical leanings as does Simon the Zealot.

One of the candidates, however, shows great potential. He is a man of ability and resourcefulness, meets people well, has a keen business mind, and has contacts in high places.

We recommend Judas Iscariot as your finance director and right-hand man.

We wish you every success in your new venture.

Sincerely Yours,

The Ebenezer Management Consultants

(with thanks to The Anglican Digest, April 2001)


1. Introduction

Like Rabbis of his day, disciples gathered around Jesus.

In Judaism, the student was left to find a “teacher” for himself.

However with Jesus, He chose his disciples.

We read for example in Jn 6:70

Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve?

Jesus chose his disciples and he chose the five disciples we read of this morning

And all five of them went on to become “apostles of the Lamb”.

This term “apostles of the Lamb” is used in some circles to differentiate Jesus’ 12 close followers from other apostles such as Paul and Barnabas.

Why did Jesus call Andrew and why did he call Philip?

What was special about them?

Well, simply put they are the first Christian missionaries!

Andrew brings his brother Simon Peter to Jesus and Philip brings his friend Nathanael to Jesus

2. Andrew

Take Andrew.

He heard the words of John the Baptist who pointed him away from himself to Jesus

“Behold the Lamb of God” (Jn 1:36)

And the first thing he did was to go and tell his brother Simon “ We have found the Messiah” (v41)

Which was nothing uncommon in itself in those days.

Judea was the Roman equivalent of Afghanistan’s “Hemand” province today. And Galilee was a hotbed of unrest.

Messiahs had a habit of turning up – and being put down by the Roman army in a bloody fashion (cf Acts 5:34-39)

But what was strange about the Galilean carpenter was that his Messiahship was different to what the Jews were expecting.

John the Baptist spoke about Jesus as the “sacrificial Lamb, who would take away the sins of the world.”

But that is not what the Jews wanted

The Jews were living as second class citizens in their own country under the iron rod of Roman rule.

And they longed for the “good old days” of Judas Maccabeus

Judas Maccabeus was the great Jewish patriot who had driven the Seleucid King Antiochus IV from Jerusalem in 167 BC - after Antiochus had insulted God by sacrificing a pig on the high altar in the Temple in Jerusalem.

The local population wanted an all conquering hero who would boot the Romans out

But Jesus was different to the messiahs that had come and gone before in Judea.

This Messiah was coming to “take away the sins of the world.”

Andrew could have been rebuffed by his brother Simon – “Come on Andrew, you want to keep away from these messiahs – following them could cost you your life”

But this was just so important to Andrew that he was prepared to take the chance – and had to tell his brother what he had found.

3. Philip

Let’s also look at Philip.

When he tells his friend, Nathanael about Jesus of Nazareth being the Messiah, he gets ridiculed

You can almost hear Nathanael’s sneer:

“Can any good come out of Nazareth. Come on Philip, don’t you know your Scriptures – the Messiah doesn’t come from a backwoods like Nazareth”

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