Summary: Jesus drew from the same raw materials that He draws from today when He calls men and women to be His disciples. In this series, we are looking at each of the Twelve as in-depth as we can, based upon what we can know and discern from the Scripture.
Once again we turn to the 10th Chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. We focused on the Apostle Peter last time, and we learned quite a bit about how Jesus can use the raw material of a person who is willing to be used. What do you remember about the way the disciples are grouped and paired in the Scriptures? (In all four listings, there are three groups of four that are always the same; the first man named is the leader of that group; the group that was most intimate with Jesus and was called first is always first, the second group called is second and less intimate with Jesus, and the third group called and the least intimate with Jesus is always listed last; Peter is always listed first and is distinguished as the leader of the Twelve, while Judas Iscariot is always listed dead last.)
Today we want to turn our attention to Simon Peter’s younger brother, Andrew. He was one of the two disciples called to follow Jesus at the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry here on earth. And, as you will see, he was also the very first Christian missionary. Turn with me, if you will, to John 1:29-42. I want us to look at the context of when Andrew first discovers Jesus Christ and look at what his first instincts were. This will begin to show us the raw material of this man chosen by God. Let’s read this through.
Look again in verses 35-39, at what Andrew’s response was when Jesus was pointed out to him and John as the Messiah; they went to Jesus, asked where He was staying, then spent the entire day with Him. They got to know Him. They became intimate with Him, probably even eating a meal with Him since they joined up with Him at about 10:00 in the morning. Andrew and John evidently grew quite convinced that Jesus was indeed the long-awaited Promised One, and it got to the point where they couldn’t keep it to themselves any longer.
Now, in verses 41-42, we see the real underlying character of Andrew. What was his first instinct after getting to know Jesus? His first instinct was to go and tell his brother that they had found the Messiah. He was so excited that he couldn’t keep it to himself; he just had to tell someone! His first thought was of his brother Simon. This tells us that Andrew’s heart from the beginning was all about leading others to meet Jesus. This would seem to indicate, also, that these men were part of a growing number of people who were expecting the arrival of and actively interested in finding the promised Messiah.
It is easy to imagine that Andrew had lived in the shadow of his larger-than-life elder brother Simon for his entire life. It was the elder brother who made the decisions about their business. It was the elder brother who made the decisions that affected the extended family since their father was no longer with them. It was the elder brother who was the leader in everything. Simon was well-known (Jesus addresses him by his full name in verse 42); Andrew was not so much. In fact, there are several times in the gospel records when the main identifier of Andrew is as Simon Peter’s brother (Examples: Matthew 4:18, Matthew 10:2; Mark 1:16; Luke 6:14; John 6:8).
Yet, on this special occasion – the calling of the first disciples – it is the wisdom of the Lord to have Andrew lead his brother for a change. Think about the implications of that for a moment. It isn’t always the biggest, the loudest, the most flamboyant, the brightest, or even the most popular that Jesus Christ chooses to use for the significant work. It isn’t the “most-likely-to” whom God is most likely to use. Many times – most times – it is the person who lives in the shadow of others that God uses in mighty ways. Examine the Old Testament saints, as well as those in the New, and you will find this to be true over and over and over again.
As we will see, even though Andrew is not spoken of much in the gospel accounts, when they speak of him doing something, he is always consistent in what he is doing. And, even though the details are missing, they seem obvious, as you will also see.
Andrew (whose name means “manly”) lived with his brother, Simon Peter in Bethsaida (Mark 1:29; John 1:44), and the two of them owned a fishing boat and worked together (Mark 1:16-18). Whenever the group that Andrew is a part of is mentioned, he is only mentioned with the other three one time when the entire group of the Twelve is not listed. Peter, James and John are mentioned together frequently, for they were the inner circle, if you will; they were the three who were always the closest and most involved with Jesus (raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead; the Mount of Transfiguration; praying in the Garden of Gethsemane). Yet, Andrew was intimate enough with Jesus that it was to Andrew that Phillip brought the Greeks who were seeking Jesus (John 12:20-22).