Posted by: pmarkrobb | August 2, 2015

greater than

I would like to thank Genel for her beautiful introduction of a disciple who, until she wrote about him this past week, I knew very little of.  I would like to thank Mike for the invitation to wade into the waters myself to see Andrew from my direct observation.  I would like to thank my Creator and my God for choosing and using a man like Andrew (and countless numbers of women and men like him) to do His work … the work of the kingdom.  In Andrew, I find a sublime reminder that God opposes the proud and shows favor to the humble (from our Proverbs chapter today – Proverbs 3:34, as well as James 4:6).

In my observations this week, I was especially drawn to a way of being (a posture) which I believe was at the core of who Andrew was.  It is a truth which bore evidence in every area of his life, and which can be illustrated with a single mathematical symbol …  > (greater than).

Andrew was first in following Jesus.  He was a firstborn.  He was in Jesus’ inner circle, mentioned as half of two brother pairs who were closest to the Savior (Andrew and Peter, James and John).  Yet as first in following Jesus, so little spotlight is captured by or shone on Andrew.  He is mentioned only three times in the entirety of the New Testament, and humbly at that.  As a firstborn, he was content to exist in the immense shadow cast by his passionate and prominent brother, Peter.  And as a part of the four brothers closest to Jesus, he is never mentioned in key miraculous moments with Jesus: His Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1), raising the daughter of Jairus from the dead (Mark 5:37) and the most intimate part of the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:33).

I know the danger in drawing conclusions about someone without personal observation (walking a mile along the road with them).  However, it seems undeniable in observing Andrew that he was genuinely humble and gladly accepted his role outside the spotlight.  He saw Jesus and spreading the gospel as far greater than himself.  He saw the genuine belief of a single heart and life as greater than any other treasure he could acquire in life.  He gave up everything to follow the man who announced Jesus to the world, and then in meeting Jesus for himself, he left without hesitation to follow Him.  The message of Jesus and Jesus himself were greater than any other purpose or possession in this life.

Andrew would meet the same fate as his Savior and his brother; he would die on a cross.  In researching this week, I found multiple sources which corroborated (although, it is important to note there is no biblical evidence) that Andrew felt undeserving of dying on the same type of cross as his Savior.  The story is told that Andrew requested the cross be different and his desire was granted (the shape of his cross resembled an “X”).  His humility was certainly moving, but as I continued on in my research, my thoughts kept returning there.  The reason why became clear as I decided on the unifying thought for this article (greater than).

I understand how this might sound, but as clarity came, a picture appeared in my mind.  It began as a large “X,” but didn’t remain long in that shape.  The “X”  began to pull apart from the middle and the distinct shapes of a greater than and less than sign emerged.  As I sat a bit longer, I began to see the truth of Andrew’s life illustrated by adding people to the spaces to the left, middle and right of those mathematical symbols.  The truth of Andrew’s life appeared like this:

Jesus  >  i  <  You

This truth reads, “Jesus is greater than i.  You are greater than i.”  The “i” which appeared in the middle was God’s gift to me personally.  For several years now, in most (if not all) of my personal writings, i choose not to follow most rules of capitalization.  Although it might seem to some as a quirk or a bit of laziness, it was an intention choice which centered on a single letter … the letter “i.”  The intentional choice speaks the truth of the way i wish to live my life … as a small “i”.  I wish to see Jesus, and every other human life God intersects with mine, as greater than myself.  In meeting Andrew (for what seems like the first time) this week, the truth of his life immediately and deeply resonated with my desire for my own.  Although my life too often falls short (I wonder if Andrew would also be quick to admit the same), this is who i want to be.

What about you?  Will you, like Andrew, choose to live a small “i” life so that Jesus becomes greater? (John 3:30)  Will you consider others > yourself? (Philippians 2:3)



  1. Well done !!

  2. A small “i”, capital “L” Life. I like that. Thanks! 🙂 i have been given Life!

    Even my phone grammar check rejects the thought of the small “i” me! The world’s wisdom is set upon capitalizing (making big) me! i like your intentional approach to combat that. 🙂

    “greater is He that is in you ….” (1 John 4:4)
    “value others above yourself ….” (Philippians 2:3)

    greater than 🙂

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