Summary: God can use ordinary people to do extraordinary things
Story: In 1934, Albert McMakin, a 24-year-old farmer became a Christian.
He was so full of enthusiasm that he filled a truck with people and took them to a meeting to hear about Jesus.
There was a good-looking farmer’s son whom he was especially keen to get to a meeting, but this man was hard to persuade – he was too busy falling in and out of love with different girls. He did not seem to be attracted to Christianity.
Eventually, Albert McMakin managed to persuade him to come by asking him to drive the truck.
When they arrived, Albert’s guest decided to go in and was “spellbound” and began to have thoughts that he had never known before.
He went back night after night until one night he went forward and gave his life to Jesus Christ
Since then, the young truck driver has spoken to at least 250 million people about Christ during his lifetime and he went on to become a spiritual advisor to the last nine US Presidents.
The young truck driver was of course Billy Graham. (taken from “Questions of Life – Nicky Gumbel” p.193-194)
We are not all called to be Billy Grahams but we can all, in our own quiet way be Albert McMakins. We all have opportunities to talk about Jesus with our friends to Jesus and to be a light in our communities by the way we live.
In our Gospel reading this morning we read of how Jesus called the 12 apostles and set them apart from merely being disciples to be with him and to be messengers of God sent to preach the Gospel. St Mark wrote this:
He (Jesus) appointed twelve - designating them apostles - that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. (Mk 3:14-15)
There were to aspects of their ministry – to be with him and to preach the Gospel.
If we were asked to name apostles in the New Testament, I wonder which names would spring to mind.
Peter and Paul and then perhaps John, because he wrote a Gospel, three letters and the book of Revelation. And then his brother James.
And with a little more thought Thomas might spring to mind. And of course Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus – whose name has become a byword for treachery in the English Language.
And I suppose Matthew the Tax Collector, the author of the first Gospel might also spring to mind. But after that, we might be scraping the barrel to name the others. Why, because they weren’t particularly special.
You see when Jesus commissioned the 12 apostles, he took ordinary men. He did not call the good and the great in Israel, but simple country folk.
And that gives me heart. Although Jesus called 12 apostles, I would like to focus only on one this morning - Andrew. I feel that he is so much like many of us – just an ordinary person.
The NT records that Andrew was the son of Jonah and the brother of the great apostle Peter. He was born in Bethsaida of Galilee and a fisherman by trade. (Jn 1: 44).
1. His conversion
We first come across Andrew in Matthew’s Gospel where he is recorded as being one of the first disciples of Christ (Mt. 4:18 & Mk 1:16)
We read a little more about Andrew in John’s Gospel where Andrew is described as originally having been a disciple of John the Baptist.
However when John the Baptist told Andrew and an unnamed friend – was it perhaps the Apostle John himself - that Jesus is the Lamb of God, both Andrew and that unnamed disciple left John to follow Jesus (John 1:35-41).
2. His ministry
One of the first recorded actions of Andrew - once he had become a follower of Christ - is to bring his brother Simon – who was to become the great apostle Peter – to Jesus (John 1:43-51).
3. Continuing ministry
Although Andrew does not have any pre-eminence among the apostles he does not fade completely from the scene. He continues to pop up in a number of places.
3.1 The feeding of the 5,000,
We see Andrew mentioned in the feeding of the five thousand. It is he who calls Jesus’ attention to the boy with five barley loaves and two fish (Jn 6:5-9). Again we see Andrew leading people to meet Jesus.
3.2 The Greek audience
Later we see Andrew again. This time together with Philip, he brings a delegation of Greeks, who had come up to Jerusalem to worship God, to meet Jesus (Jn 12:20-22).
3.3 Signs of the End of the Age
The last time that Andrew appears in the gospel narratives is when he - and the inner circle of Peter, James and John - ask Jesus a question concerning the sign of the End Times (Mark 13:3-4).