by Wye Huxford
We first meet Andrew in John 1. Apparently he had heard John the Baptist declare that Jesus was "the Lamb of God." Andrew and another person decided to follow Jesus around and ended up spending the day with Jesus. Early tradition suggests that this "unnamed" person with Andrew was John, the beloved apostle. Andrew soon goes and finds his brother Simon, telling him, "We have found the Messiah."
Simon will answer Jesus' call in his life and become better known as "Cephas, which, when translated, is Peter." Of course Peter will become a key player in the story of Jesus found in the four gospels and a key player in the life of the early church described in Acts and the epistles. Andrew is seldom mentioned in the gospels and mentioned only in a list of the apostles in Acts 1 beyond the Jesus story of the gospels. Peter's name occurs 155 times in the New Testament; Andrew's name only 13 times.
Apparently not every follower of Jesus is called to be the upfront, well-known leader that Peter became. But the few things we know about Andrew make him a character that we shouldn't overlook as we examine people in Scripture who served Jesus effectively!
One of those "few things" is the simple fact that Andrew is the one who "brought Peter to Jesus" (John 1). Perhaps with all that was going on where Peter lived at the time, he might have "stumbled on to Jesus" all by himself without Andrew's help. But Andrew was unwilling to take such a risk and "the first thing" he did was to find his brother and bring him to meet "the Messiah." Who wouldn't be happy to know that on the record of our life of service to Jesus was the fact that we brought someone - in this case a crucial someone - to Jesus?
John tells another interesting story about Andrew. This one surrounds the great feeding of the five thousand and the Sermon on the Bread of Life. According to John (chapter 6) a great crowd was coming toward Jesus, and Jesus said to Phillip, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" John makes it clear that Jesus already knew what He planned to do, but wanted to see what His fledgling young followers would do.
Phillip replies that it would take "eight month's wages" and then some to buy enough bread to give the people even "a bite." Not to pick on Phillip too much (I probably would have said something similar) but he falls into the trap of thinking "it's all up to us" instead of "I wonder how God can use us to take care of this." Andrew enters the picture, with John taking time to note that he was "Simon Peter's brother." Clearly Andrew isn't occupying a starring role in the story if John feels compelled to identify who he is by saying "he's Peter's brother."
But Andrew says, "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish. How far will they go among so many?" Clearly Andrew doesn't see exactly how that meager offering can solve the problem, but at least he doesn't say "that won't work!" He seems to be operating with a sense of "I don't know how this will answer your question, Jesus, but I'm trying."
Everyone likely knows how that meager offering was used to feed the multitude of people about whom Jesus was concerned. In fact, when everyone was fed, there were "twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten." Perhaps a basket of leftovers was for each of the apostles, who like Phillip, might have wondered where the "eight month's wages" was going to be found to give the crowd a bite to eat.
In Mark 13, Andrew, in the company of the more familiar trio of Peter, James, and John, asks Jesus privately about when "the signs" would take place. This of course is a pretty natural question when you realize that they had just heard Jesus say, "Not one stone will be left on another; every one will be thrown down" in reference to the Temple and other "magnificent buildings" in Jerusalem.
We meet Andrew again during the final week of Jesus' life on earth when some "Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast" requested of Phillip an opportunity "to see Jesus." Phillip consults with Andrew, and the two of them make the request known to Jesus (John 12:20-22). We aren't told that Jesus actually met with the Greeks who desired to see Him, but His response to Phillip and Andrew makes it abundantly clear that Jesus sees the request as indicative of the fact His mission is reaching its climax and "the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified."
That's pretty much it. Only the mention of Andrew in the list of the apostles in Acts 1 tells us any more about him. In our cultural lingo, "his fifteen minutes of fame" has come and gone.
But actually that isn't true, is it? Far more of us can find a soul mate in Andrew than in Peter. Two things stand out in Andrew's life as we know it: [a] he is willing to bring others to Jesus; and [b] he is willing to offer Jesus whatever he has available, even if it is a meager five loaves and two fish when thousands need to be fed.
It makes me wish that when Luke introduces Peter's sermon on Pentecost, he would have said, "Then Peter, Andrew's brother, stood up with the Eleven . . ." (Acts 2:1). Andrew was, it seems, always willing to make Jesus the main thing. And he did that with grace and class. May God raise up a crowd of Andrews in the world around us who will introduce others to Jesus and offer Him whatever they have.