Summary: In life there are those who seem to be born leaders but leaders need the essential support of others and appear to take 2nd place. The disciple of Jesus, Andrew shows us very clearly that there is Honour in taking Second Place.
I’m sure in the past you have either applied for a job or some position and you attended an interview panel or selection board.
Well picture the disciples before such an examining board which was appointed to choose Jesus' closest associates.
Peter stood there smelling of fish -- uncouth, uncultured, impetuous, and impulsive.
Andrew, James, and John also reeked of fish and lacked refinement.
Philip appeared to be indecisive.
Thomas seemed cynical.
Matthew was considered a traitor.
Simon the Zealot was a dangerous patriot.
Judas was a thief.
The NT tells it like it was. This was a group not likely to succeed and by human standards it is most likely that they would not have been chosen by a selection board, but they were chosen by Jesus who knows us as we are.
And today some of them are introduced to us in our Gospel reading so let us consider the apostle Andrew.
In the entire NT Andrew is mentioned only twelve times, and six of those that he was the brother of Simon Peter.
It was almost as if the writers were afraid we would not know who he was and it seemed that his own name didn't carry enough weight.
It’s almost as if he played 2nd fiddle to Peter.
Yet, Andrew was the first of the apostles to have his name linked with that of Jesus.
Andrew was not as well known as his more gifted and famous brother, Peter.
But the one thing that Andrew can teach us is that there is honour in taking second place.
Andrew was not a brilliant theologian or an eloquent orator, if he ever wrote a line or preached a single sermon, we are not told about it.
He was just a fisherman, an ordinary person. Yet Jesus chose to make Andrew one of His apostles.
If we could look into the Lord's storehouse of valuables, we would probably be surprised at the insignificance of the things we would see.
In it we would find two small copper coins, once belonging to a poor widow. They were all that she had, but she gave them away willingly.
We would also find five barley loaves and two fish, the lunch box of a family which a peasant boy donated to Andrew and which was used to feed the 5000.
There would also be a broken alabaster box which once belonged to Mary of Bethany. In an act of impetuous devotion, she broke it open and poured its contents on the head of Jesus.
We would also find a cup of water and underneath the caption, 'Even a cup of cold water given in my name will not lose its reward.' Jesus had an affinity with ordinary things and ordinary people.
When we study the little we know about Andrew we discover that the ordinary things he did led to the achievement of extraordinary things.
You could make a case that Andrew's position was the most difficult among the apostles. Right from the start he had a close association with Peter, James and John.
They were the first four followers of Jesus. It was from these four that Jesus chose His inner circle of apostles.
But for some reason Andrew was left out.
One day Jesus went into the home of a little girl who had died and He brought her back to life. To witness this event, He took with Him Peter, James and John.
Andrew was left out.
On another occasion Jesus went up the mountain of Transfiguration and talked with Moses and Elijah. Again He took with Him Peter, James and John. Andrew was left out.
On the night of His greatest agony, when Jesus went deeper into the garden to pray, He took with Him Peter, James and John. And again Andrew was left out.
Why Andrew was left out, we do not know, but here we witness the extraordinary spirit that Andrew possessed.
If he ever suffered one pang of envy, there is no indication of it in the gospel records. There was simply no room for petty jealousy in him.
He was able to appreciate that Jesus had the freedom to choose just as He pleased and Andrew had the confidence that Jesus knew best.
Each disciple was chosen for a particular purpose according to their talents and Andrew had the courage to be himself and do his own work in his own way.
Three times in the NT we see Andrew in action, and he is either introducing people to Jesus or helping out in a situation.
This tells us he must have been a very likeable person.
The first time he is mentioned, he is bringing his brother Simon and introducing him to Jesus.
The second time he persuades a boy to give to Jesus the food he is carrying. Little did they both realise that with it Jesus would feed a multitude.