The Feast of St. Andrew
Text: John 1:35-42a
Who was Andrew? How is he remembered?
Andrew was the brother of Peter, first a disciple of John and moved by the words, “Behold, the Lamb of God.”
Although he was the first to believe, he wasn’t as impetuous as his brother. The two of them were called together at some point after this initial meeting (Matt. 4:18-22)
His mark on in the Gospel narratives is only pointing out the boy with five loaves and two fish at the Feeding of the 5,000 (John 6:8-9) and being among the four who asked Jesus about the destruction of the Temple (Mark 13:3-4).
Later tradition says he was a missionary around the Black Sea. Died in Patras, Achaia in the 60’s. Legend says that he was crucified on an X-shaped cross, which is why he is pictured with the two beams of wood. Owing to the tradition of his wide travels, Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, which is why the flag bears a white cross on a blue field.
Almighty God, by Your grace the apostle Andrew obeyed the call of Your Son to be a disciple. Grant us also to follow the same Lord Jesus Christ in heart and life, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
John the Evangelist provides the background of how Andrew first came to learn of Jesus.
18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. (Matt. 4:18-20)
His call to be an apostle is not the impulsive, hasty “get out of the boat” moment that people make it out to be. He learned from Jesus, first calling Him “Rabbi,” but eventually telling his brother, “We have found the Messiah.”
Likewise, all disciples grow through the Word of God. We all start as babes on the “pure spiritual milk of God’s Word…[having] tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Pet. 2:2) And over time with growth, we become ready for “solid food,” for “solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” (Heb. 5:14).
How has your walk been in following Jesus? Perhaps earlier you had misconceptions, underestimating Him. This misunderstanding may have led you to doubt.
What brings you from weak faith to better know Him, and more fervently follow Him, is hearing His Word in the crucible of life. Faith comes by hearing, but maturity comes through trials (Rom. 10:17; James 1:2). We need both.
The Lord knew this for Andrew, just as He did for Peter and all the apostles. The Lord directed Andrew’s growth though His questions and teaching, healing Peter’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:29-31), through his doubts in the crowd of 5,000, through the Messiah’s passion and resurrection and ascension. All of this prepared Andrew for what the Lord would do through him: preach the Gospel to the Gentiles of Scythia, Thrace, and Asia Minor.
What does Andrew teach us about during Advent?
The point for us is that every disciple starts somewhere which the Lord knows. According to His saving purpose, He calls us with His Gospel and enlightens us. As we answer His call and follow Him, Jesus causes us to better know Him, so that we can also tell others accurately about who He is—our Christ and theirs.
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.