Posted by: genelnicholsblog | July 29, 2015

one individual life at a time

He was the first apostle called by Christ.  He was part of Christ’s “inner circle.”  He was a fisherman; in fact, he was probably life-long friends with two other fishermen by the names of James and John.  And he had a brother named … Peter.

Andrew was content to take on a supporting role (behind his extroverted brother), but he is a great example of personal, one-on-one ministry and the effectiveness of that approach.

Andrew was already a devout follower of John the Baptist.  In fact, he and young John (also a future apostle) were there the day Jesus walked by and John the Baptist proclaimed, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”  They immediately left John and began to follow Jesus.

Jesus turned around and saw them following and said to them, “What do you want?” So they said to him, “Rabbi” (which is translated Teacher), “where are you staying?”  Jesus answered, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. Now it was about four o’clock in the afternoon.
John 1:38-39

After that encounter, Andrew went directly to find his brother Simon (Peter).

He first found his own brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah!” (which is translated Christ).  Andrew brought Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon, the son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).
John 1:41-42

When something exciting happens during the day for you, who do you look forward to telling?  Do you pick up the phone right away and call them?  Or can you hardly wait to get home to tell them in person?  I find it very telling that Andrew went immediately to get Simon to tell him they found the long-awaited Messiah, and then took him to meet Jesus.  This is the first account in Scripture which tells us how Andrew operated.

He never preached to a crowd of thousands like his brother.  He never wrote a book of the Bible.  He never founded a church.  In fact, his name is never mentioned in the book of Acts, which documents so many evangelistic activities of the apostles.

Andrew’s gift, his bent, his effective comfort zone, was one-on-one, and we see that clearly in his running to Peter that very day to tell him, “I found the Messiah!”

At the feeding of the five thousand, Andrew was the one who brought the small lad with the 5 loaves and 2 fishes to Jesus.  When a group of Greeks (Gentiles!!) dared to ask Philip if they could meet Jesus, Philip asked Andrew to take them.  He seemed to see the value of the individual and recognize the importance of evangelism on a very personal level.

Andrew is mentioned 9 times in the New Testament.  Although he was not as prominent as his brother Peter, Scripture does indicate that he effectively brought many to Christ – probably one at a time! He was satisfied in the supporting role of quietly laboring for Christ.

Andrew died the way he lived.  He led the wife of the Roman provincial governor to Christ, which ultimately cost him his earthly life.  The governor was furious at the news and ordered his wife to recant her faith.  When she refused, he murdered Andrew in retaliation.  He was crucified in southern Greece near Athens.  By order of the governor, Andrew was lashed with ropes to a cross (lengthening the time of his suffering before death). Andrew hung on his cross for 2 days exhorting all who passed by to accept Christ – preaching to individuals to the very end.

Andrew is a role model for all the “supporting actors” (of whom I consider myself one) who will never preach on TV, write a bestselling book, establish a large church or be on the front page of a newspaper.  He lived small and witnessed “local.” He reached his world with the gospel of Jesus Christ, participating in God’s plan for reaching the world one individual life at a time.

Is Andrew’s story your story?  Will you choose for it to be?  Will you begin to live it today?

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