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A salesman walked up to a boy sitting on the steps of a house. He asked the boy, “Is your mother at home?” The boy said, “Yes sir.” The salesman began knocking at the door. He knocked again and again, but there was no answer. He turned to the boy and said, “I thought you said your mother was at home.” “She is,” said the boy, “But I don't live here.” It was a logical mistake, but the man jumped to a conclusion which was based on inadequate information. This is a common mistake in reading the Bible. It is not hard to jump to false conclusions when you take one of the Gospels as a complete account. When it comes to a study of the Apostles, we need to keep in mind that the authors of the Gospels had no intention of giving us a biographical account of anyone but Jesus. All that know about others is due to their relationship to Jesus and due to their role in phases of His life. This means that the best we can do is to gather the pieces, and then draw conclusions on the basis of what is revealed in those pieces. You dare not jump to any conclusions until you get all of the pieces together. If you jump to conclusions, you may begin a study of Andrew by going to the book of Mark. In chapter one you will read that Andrew and Peter were fishing in the Sea of Galilee. Jesus came by and said to them, “Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. Because this is the first reference to Andrew in Mark's Gospel, it is easy to jump to the conclusion that this was the first contact that he had with Jesus. If this was the case, you cannot help but be impressed with the awesome power of Christ to move men in this way instantly. They followed Him without any hesitation, and it appears that He is a total stranger. There is, no doubt, many sermons and lessons on this impressive call and response. The whole thing is made to appear supernatural and marvelous, when really it was the most normal and logical move when you see the background. Andrew and Peter were not under a sudden spell in which they were compelled to leave their livelihood and follow Jesus. They already knew Jesus very well, and they were committed to Him as the Messiah. Their immediate response in Mark is seen to be the expected response when you go to John's Gospel to see what has gone before. In John 1:35 we read that John the Baptist was standing with two of his disciples, and when he saw Jesus he said, “Behold the Lamb of God.” Now one of these disciples was Andrew, and the other one who is not named is universally acknowledged to be John. Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist before he became a disciple of Christ. This means he had been baptized with the baptism of repentance. He was instructed by John the Baptist as to the soon coming of the Messiah, and the Kingdom of God. Andrew was a godly man in search of God's will, and John the Baptist was his master. Andrew loved John and listened to him as the voice of God. When he pointed to Jesus as the Lamb of God, Andrew was eager to follow Jesus. When they did follow Jesus, he invited them to come to where He was staying, and they stayed with Jesus as it says in verse 39. What exactly happened we do not know, but that Jesus made it clear to them that He was the Messiah there can be doubt, for verses 40 and 41 tell of how Andrew found Peter and then said, “We have found the Messiah.” Andrew was, as far as know, the first person to hear Jesus present His claim to be the Messiah, and then go and persuade another. With this background you can see why the dropped their nets and immediately followed Jesus when He called them to join in His public ministry. This also makes more sense from the point of view of the method of Jesus in
selecting His disciples to become Apostles. If Jesus just walked along a lake and called fisherman to follow Him with no previous knowledge of their life and character, it would be a very haphazard method out of character for Jesus. Jesus was fully acquainted with the men He choose for the greatest work in history. A knowledge of this intimate background between Jesus and Andrew, along with Peter, destroys another popular myth. Almost everyone has heard a sermon on Andrew going immediately to Peter his brother and bringing him to Christ, as if this was a case of soul-winning. It is a credit to Andrew, and we will look at this, but we read way too much into it. There is no comparison of this experience and a contemporary man being won to Christ who has a brother who is lost and ungodly. He may try and witness to him and be laughed to scorn. Peter was not Andrew's ungodly brother. They were brothers who lived and labored together as partners in the fishing business. They were obviously close, and were both believers. The Old Testament begins with two brothers and one kills the other. The New Testament begins with two brothers, one of which brings the other to Christ. Peter was not an unbeliever, however, but one who was just as eager to find and follow the Messiah as Andrew. Andrew comes and says that we have found Him, and so come and see. Peter did just that, and to read into this anything about soul-winning is misleading, for it implies that Peter was not already a spiritual brother. Andrew was eager to share his discovery, and this is the key to effective witnessing. Unfortunately, not all brothers are as eager as Peter to be led to the discovery of Christ. The thing that is impressive about Andrew is his intense love for the individual. He is only mentioned in three situations in the New Testament, and in each case he is bringing someone to Jesus. Andrew is, therefore, known as the patron saint of personal workers. Billy Graham crusades depend largely on the Operation Andrew, which is Christian people bringing someone to the meetings who is a potential decision maker. Andrew, as far as we know, never preached to a crowd like Peter did. That was not Andrew's method. He had the personal touch, and he brought people one by one. The facts of history show that this is the most effective method of winning people to Christ. Even the success of mass evangelism depends on the Andrew approach of personal invitation. Clarence Macartney said, “Christianity cannot grow, or flourish, or endure, or propagate itself because its adherents are able and willing to sing its praises, to defend logically its principles, to live faithfully its percepts, or to state learnedly and eloquently its truths. Nor did it grow and flourish that way. It grew and expanded and influenced the lives of men and nations because it had within its communion men and women who, like Andrew, brought someone else. The average Christian fails because he cannot gain and hold the conviction of Andrew that every individual is of infinite worth, and needs to come to Christ to be saved.” Andrew, without doubt, learned a basic lesson from John the Baptist. John was able to take second place, and say of Jesus, “He must increase, and I must decrease.” He pointed Andrew and John to Jesus knowing he would lose them, and that they would follow Jesus. The same attitude characterized Andrew, for he must have known his brother Peter was superior to him as a leader, and that he would have take a second place by bringing his brother to Christ. It happened just that way, for Peter, James and John became the three in the inner circle, and Andrew is always mentioned number 4 in the list of the Apostles. He is not in that inner circle even though he was the first to come to Christ of the 12. most sermons on Andrew make a great deal of his ability to play second fiddle and not be envious of his brother. All that mattered to him was the will of Christ and bringing individuals to Him.
Content to follow his Master's plan, Love unstinted to every man; Content if at most the world would say, He helped his brother along the way. In John 12:20-22 we read that some Greeks wanted to see Jesus, and they asked Philip. He was not sure what to do, and so he told Andrew. And together they went to Jesus. The fact that Philip went to Andrew indicates he was the wise one when it came to dealing with individuals. He was not the great public speaker like Peter, but he was the one who wins people individually, such as those who would become great public speakers. Who knows the man who led Moody, Finny, Wesley or Spurgeon to Christ? Great men of fame in Christian history, like Peter, are remembered, and their names are on our tongues, but each of them is usually brought into the kingdom through an Andrew who sees every individual as a target for witnessing. Few of us can ever be Peters, but all of us can be Andrews in aiming for the individual. In John 6:8-9 we get an incidental insight into the nature of Andrew. The setting is the feeding of the 5 thousand, and it is Andrew who said to Jesus, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are they among so many?” Again, we see in the massive crowd Andrew dealing with the one individual-the little lad. The boy must have been fishing, and Andrew being a fisherman spotted him, and was talking to him about fishing. On the other hand, it seems more likely that the fish were already prepared to eat, and that the boy belonged to a family that had come prepared as they followed Jesus. Anyway you look at it, Andrew was the observant one who, out of a vast crowd, picked out the lad with the lunch. Andrew didn't think it was much to work with, but by his nature he brings that little to Christ. He knows how important little things are. Peter, his brother, would not bother with such peanuts. He was for the crowd and the spectacular. He is the one who leaped off the ship. He is the one who drew the sword ready to die with Christ. Andrew was not as dynamic, but had his feet on the ground all the way, and never counted anything too small and insignificant to be used by Christ. While Peter fished with a net, Andrew was a pole fisher bringing them in one by one. Tradition says that Andrew brought the lad to Christ as well, and not just his lunch. There is a famous painting of Andrew on the St. Andrew's cross. Along side the big cross a lad is weeping who represents the lad with the loaves and fishes. Andrew was a man with an eye for detail, and a heart for the individual. He picks the lad out of a crowd, and tradition says he went on all through his ministry laboring to bring others to Jesus that everyone else neglected or ignored. He went to labor among the Sythians, which were the most barbaric people of the ancient world. Despised by all, Andrew loved them. Both the Russians and Scots claim to be descended from the Sythians, and so Andrew has the distinction of being the patron saint of Russia and Scotland. Andrew is also the patron saint of Greece, for it is there, according to tradition, that his love for bringing individuals to Christ led to his martyrdom. He won Maximilla, the wife of the Roman pro-consul, to Christ, and this so angered the pagan leader that he ordered Andrew to offer sacrifice to the heathen gods. When he refused, he was beaten and crucified. To make him linger he was tied to the cross and not nailed. He hung for two days teaching the people watching him about the Gospel. His prayer has been handed down to us, which he prayed as he hung on the
cross. “Hail, precious cross, consecrated by my Lord's body, jeweled by His limbs. I came to the exultant, embrace thou me with welcome. O good cross, beautified by my Lord's beauty, I have ardently loved thee; long have I panted seeking thee. New found, now made ready to my yearnings, embrace thou me; separate me from mankind; uplift me to my Master, that He who redeemed me on thee may receive me by thee.” We cannot begin to tell of all the stories about Andrew that have been recorded, but some of them have been of very powerful influence in history. The national symbol of Scotland is a white cross of St. Andrew in a blue background. When Great Briton adopted a national emblem, the crosses of St. Andrew, St. George and St. Patrick were combined to make the Union Jack. The flag used by George Washington at Cambridge on Jan. 2, 1776 was constructed of 13 alternate red and white stripes with the combined crosses of St. Andrew, and St. George in the place of stars. There are St. Andrew Cathedrals, the St Andrew University, and numerous other honors, but his greatest distinction is that he was a friend to the individual, and he brought them to his friend Jesus. Asbury Smith ends a study of Andrew with these words of tribute. “If the saints in heaven could reach down to our troubled earth, St. Andrew would probably stretch out his hand and say, “Come, my friend, I want you to know my friend Jesus.” What a joy to enter the Master's presence with a hand in the hand of Andrew, the friend.”
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