Summary: Like Andrew, we are called to bring people to Jesus.
MARKS OF A DISCIPLE
Have you ever had occasion to introduce two people to each other, and they just hit it off, and establish a great business partnership, or friendship, or even more, they wind up married? If so, you know how good that feels to know you have had a role in bringing those two people together. That’s one of the things we want to talk about today, in a way- introducing people not to one another, but to Jesus.
In our scripture today, John was baptizing people, urging them to repent and prepare for the coming of the Messiah. As a teacher, he had disciples who followed him, learned from him and helped him with his ministry. When John the Baptist saw Jesus approaching him at the River Jordan, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” John pointed people to Jesus, the lamb of God, who is our redeemer and Savoir. Letting people know that this was the one they had waited and longed for. The next day, when John again said, “Behold the lamb of God!” two of his disciples decided to follow Jesus. One of those was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. Andrew would prove to be a model for Christian discipleship. He demonstrated some important truths for us as followers of Christ. We want to look at 2 of those this morning.
First of all, one of the most important marks of discipleship is that a disciple points people to Christ, or in other words, brings others to Jesus. We know that. In fact, the mission of the UMC is a simplified version of Jesus’ great commission: “to make disciples for Jesus Christ”, which simply means, we are here to do as John the B. did, point others of the lamb of God, and to do as Andrew did, bring others to Jesus.
Andrew was Jesus’ first disciple. He was a fisherman on the sea of Galilee who lived in the village of Bethsaida. If we think about Andrew, we realize he is sometimes overlooked. He did not write a gospel and none of any sermons he might have given or letters he might have written survived. We know of no miracles attributed to him. But Andrew had the gift of bringing others to meet Jesus. He was the first evangelist, if you will. We have three accounts in John’s gospel of Andrew’s bringing others to Jesus. In John 1, we have the story of Andrew’s introducing his brother Simon to Christ. Sometimes it is hard to witness to our own family members, since they know us so well. We are afraid they won’t listen to us - which often is true. But Andrew had no qualms about it. He ran and brought his brother to Jesus. And what an impact this one we faithful act of discipleship had on the world. Jesus gave Simon the nick name Cephas, which is Aramaic for Peter, which means “rock”. Simon Peter became the chief of Jesus’ apostles. We think of Peter, for all his faults, as a spiritual giant. He was himself a powerful witness to Christ - On Pentecost, Peter preached and 3000 people believed on Christ. All because one ordinary man, Andrew, was faithful in bringing others to Jesus. See, we shrink from even the word evangelism. We often hesitate to share our faith with our friends and family - we don’t want to seem like religious fanatics. Too often we don’t invite people to church, even offering to bring them with us because we don’t want to bother them or don’t want to seem pushy. But what if Andrew had felt like that? Think of what the Christian world would have lost, how many lives would not have been touched for Christ if Andrew had been worried about his brother thinking he’d lost it, or about being too pushy - if he had not brought his brother to Jesus? Because of Andrew’s faithfulness to God, many untold lives were touched. It became like a ripple effect.
The second time we find Andrew bringing someone to Jesus in John’s gospel illustrates this ripple like effect of our faithfulness. In John 6 we have the account of Jesus’ teaching and feeding the crowd of 5000. When it was getting late and the disciples were thinking it’s time to send these folks home to eat - we can’t afford to feed them, and besides, it would take too long to go to town to buy the food anyway, it was Andrew who brought the lad with his lunch of 5 barely loaves and two fish to Jesus who multiplied them and fed his 5000 hungry listeners. Jesus’ power was shown and thousands were fed because Andrew was faithful and brought the boy to Jesus, despite the seemingly impossibility of feeding that many people with that little lunch. He believed and trusted, and then watched Jesus perform the impossible. It can be that way in our lives as well. You never know what God will do with whatever we give him, no matter how small, we never know how God will use those we bring to him - or use those who come to Christ or make a commitment to Christ or enter various ministries because of our influence. In Boston in 1856 a young man was working in a shoe store. One day his Sunday school teacher asked him, “Dwight, don’t you think it’s about time you gave your heart and life to the Lord?” One simple, yet folks would say, very bold question. But the young man took it seriously and responded and Dwight L. Moody gave his life to Christ and became a world famous evangelist to his generation. This Sunday School teacher influenced tens of thousands for Christ by sharing the Lord with young moody. Remember that, you Sunday school teachers- when you are most discouraged, and that should keep you going. You never know where your influence will go when you share Christ with someone.