A common mission in the modern church is to create a community of trusted friends. This originated in the New Testament, when Jesus called several men to follow him — tax collectors, fishermen, religious zealots. Some were called for skills they already had, some were called for their passion, but all were called for the same purpose, to share the news of Jesus with others. We remember many of these disciples for things they did later in their lives; John, the beloved, wrote a Gospel, recorded several letters, and experienced Revelation. Peter, as we’ve shared, became known as a founder of the original church and proved the transforming power of faith in Christ. Matthew, Mark, and Luke wrote several accounts of Jesus’s ministry, and Luke also described the early years of the church. But in this week’s iteration of Man-Crush Monday, we want to focus on one of the first disciples, Andrew.
Andrew first appears in the book of John, chapter 1, as a disciple to John the Baptist, who spent his life prophesying the coming of the Messiah. One day when Jesus passed by John and a group of his followers, John pointed Him out, proclaiming Him as the promised one. At this news, Andrew immediately turned to follow Jesus, choosing to leave behind what he knew so that he could follow a truer teacher. After spending the afternoon learning from Jesus, Andrew knew where he wanted to go next, and he wasted no time in getting there.
Andrew’s first act as a disciple of Jesus set into motion many events that would determine the course of Christianity as we know it today. He went directly to his brother, then known as Simon, and told him of the teacher he’d been learning from. He described the Messiah, the anointed one, the one prophesied to come to save the world. And here’s the greatest miracle of that day — Andrew invited his brother to join him in following this Jesus.
Many of us know of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19), Jesus’s calling for each of us to spread His good news and invite others to join in following Him. It can be a difficult calling, to keep on inviting even after being denied. It’s even difficult to start that conversation, especially with family members. Yet Andrew did it, without hesitation, and his simple action enabled the callings of those close to him and of strangers.
Andrew’s brother Simon would become known as Peter, the disciple who would be tasked with establishing the foundations of the church. Peter would become a missionary, passionate about spreading God’s message and empowering others to follow their callings. Peter would become one of the best-known disciples and a close friend to Jesus — but in the beginning, he was just a fisherman whose brother told him some great news.
In the midst of Jesus’s followers, it’s easy to overlook Andrew’s role within the group. The comparison game almost seems evident — so many other disciples left behind writings or performed major miracles. Andrew did none of that, yet he fulfilled his calling without hesitation and changed the future of the church. These days, I think we can fall into a trap that forgets how important a simple invitation can be. Especially with social media, we see other believers who lead churches or serve as missionaries, and the act of inviting a friend or family member to church seems both immensely trivial and overwhelmingly terrifying. Andrew’s life is proof of how false that feeling is; a simple invitation not only fulfills our own calling, but it also can be the catalyst that empowers someone else to fulfill theirs. If Andrew had been too fearful to invite Simon to follow Jesus thousands of years ago, our church could look very different today.