The First of the Twelve Disciples of Jesus Christ
Andrew and John: Disciples of John the BaptistAndrew and John were fishermen by trade and the sons of two wealthy men who had formed a successful partnership. We don't know how Andrew and John came to follow John the Baptist, but we can suppose they heard of John the Baptist's ministry as they transported fish from Galilee to Jerusalem. The home town of Andrew and his brother Simon Peter was Bethsaida. (John 1:44)
It was a period of hope for the Jews in Israel, and many false Messiahs were springing up around the country, as they impatiently waited for the promised Messiah who would relieve them of Roman occupation. By the time the false messiahs with their limited followers made their names known in Jerusalem, the nervous Roman government would eliminate the problem quickly, to prevent his followings from becoming even bigger. This was the atmosphere at the time of John the Baptist and his growing ministry. False messiahs had come and gone, and hopeful Jews would run from one self-proclaimed messiah to another, in hopes of finding the true one that the LORD God had sent to save them. Then, the most popular, crowd gathering prophet of God began preparing the way in the wilderness for the Lord, and John the Baptist became known throughout the country as the most popular preacher of his time.
John the Baptist drew crowds of people wherever he went, and many thought he was the true Messiah. The Words he spoke rang true with the people, and his baptism of repentance was given to many. They would gather daily to hear him speak. He was so popular, that nervous members of the Sanhedrin sent Priests to Betharabah to interview John the Baptist and determine if he was in fact the Messiah. John the Baptist was a beloved and respected popular preacher of that day, and could have easily claimed to be the Messiah, yet, his testimony of his identity and that of the coming of the true Messiah leaves no doubt that he is not the One. (John 1:19-28)
Andrew and John became devoted followers of John the Baptist. When they heard his testimony to the Sanhedrin priests, they must have been surprised to hear John the Baptist deny that he was the Messiah, and speak of Jesus Christ with such high regard in his testimony to the inquiring priests.
Andrew and John were again with John the Baptist when he saw Jesus Christ walking and he declared “...Behold the Lamb of God!” (John 1:35-36 av) When Andrew and John heard their respected preacher's declaration and associated it with their knowledge of prophecy concerning the coming Messiah as a “lamb to the slaughter.” (Isaiah 53:1-12) they immediately began to follow Jesus Christ, to figure out who He was that their teacher held in such high regard to link him with the prophesy of the Messiah.
Andrew, John and Peter: Meeting Jesus Christ for the First TimeJesus turned and saw Andrew and John following and asked them "...What seek ye..." and they answered "...Rabbi, where dwellest thou?..."(John 1:38) Now when they addressed Jesus as "Rabbi" they were speaking to Him as if He were already "Master" to them. Jesus answered them with the words "Come and see." It was about two hours before dark as Andrew and John went with Jesus to the place was staying, and abode with Him the rest if the day and overnight. (John 1:39)
They must have talked with Jesus in great detail during their time with him alone in his abode, because the next day Andrew recognized Jesus as the prophesized Messiah. Andrew excitedly left the abode of Jesus, and hurried through a crowd of people to find his brother, Simon, to let him know of his great find. When "He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.” (John 1:41 av) Peter was not impressed with the announcement, probably because so many false messiahs had come and gone by this time. Andrew brought Simon to Jesus to see for himself, and when Jesus saw Simon, He not only recognized him to be Simon the son of Jona, but also changed his name to "Cephas" which means "A stone" (John 1:42 av)
Many Bible Teachers believe that Andrew was the first to bring someone to Christ, when he "first" found his brother Simon, and that John found James and brought him to Jesus that same day. (John 1:41 av) We do know that Andrew began following Jesus the first day after Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, and brought his brother Peter to Christ on second the day after the baptism. (John 1:32-33 ff. John 1:35; John 1:39)
Brothers Andrew and Simon Peter: Called to Become Disciples of Jesus ChristEven after Andrew was certain of the Messiah Jesus Christ, and his brother had been renamed, "Cephas" (Simon Peter) by Him, they did not fully become disciples to Jesus Christ, until after the imprisonment of John the Baptist, which was at least forty days later. “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15)
As Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew in their boat, casting their fishing net into the sea, as fishermen do. The time of God had been fulfilled and was at hand, and Jesus called His Disciples Andrew and Simon Peter to follow Him. “And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.” Andrew and Peter immediately gave up their jobs as fisherman, and began following Jesus Christ as His Disciples. (Mark 1:16-18 av)
When Jesus Christ had called his twelve disciples, He made them Apostles, which included Andrew. As a result of being made an Apostle, Andrew and the others were given the power against unclean spirits and the ability to cast them out, as well as the ability to heal all sicknesses and diseases. (Matthew 10:1-2) The Apostles also received supernatural abilities to accomplish signs, wonders and amazing deeds. Andrew had gone from a prosperous but laborious job of fishing for fish, to become a student of Jesus Christ, a fisher of men, and a special messenger to announce His Kingdom, with powers that can men had never possessed. (2 Corinthians 12:12)
The Three Squad Disciple Ministry of Jesus ChristThe twelve disciples were divided into three squads. The first group was led by Simon Peter, the second by Phillip, and the third by James of Alphaeus. There are four different orders of organization in the Gospels, but all orders list Peter as First, Phillip as Fourth and James of Alphaeus ninth. Each group of four men are named exactly in each Gospel, but some in different orders within their squad, even though the leaders are always the same. The first group consisted of Peter, Andrew, James of Zebedee, and John. The second squad had Phillip, Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the Publican. The third squad held James of Alphaeus, Thaddeus, Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot. (Matthew 10:2-5; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16; Acts 1:13)
Each squad held different responsibilities in the ministry of Jesus Christ, and each squad varied in closeness to Him. The first squad led by Peter, of which Andrew was a member, was the closest to Jesus and part of His inner circle. When not performing duties as squads, the disciples most likely traveled in pairs. Andrew and Peter traveled together according to the grouping in Matthew 10:2-4.
Andrew's Ministry PresenceAndrew was the needs of others, and his understanding of the great needs was exemplified when the 5,000 needed fed, and there was not enough food to go around. (Matthew 14:15; Mark 6:36; Luke 9:12; John 6:9) While the other disciples wanted to send the multitudes out of the desert toward food, Jesus chose to teach them with the miracle of feeding the multitude with just a few loaves of bread and a few fish. As Phillip was considering the cost of the food to feed so many, Andrew had located a small boy with five barley loaves and two fish. Though he had found the focus for the great miracle of God, his distress of the great need of others prevented him from realizing on his own the possibilities of God's providence. Andrew replied to Jesus, “There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?” (John 6:9) Jesus had the disciples to make the men sit down, and about five thousand were fed with the limited food, through an unlimited miracle of God. (John 6:10-14) Jesus went into the home of Andrew and Simon Peter with James and John. The mother-in-law of Simon was sick with a fever and Jesus healed her with the touch of His hand. It was while they were still at the home of Andrew and Simon Peter that Jesus healed many that were sick of different diseases, and cast out many devils, refusing to allow the devils to speak, because of their recognition of Him. (Mark 1:29-34).
Andrew was one of the disciples who sat upon the Mount of Olives against the temple and asked Jesus about the signs of the end. (Mark 13:3).
Andrew was present at the feeding of the five thousand and informed Jesus there was a lad who had five barley loaves and two small fishes. (John 6:8-9).
Andrew and Philip told Jesus about the Greek who desired to see Him. (John 12:22). That was the third time Andrew brought someone to Jesus. His brother Simon was the first, the boy with the fishes the second and the Greek the third.
Traditional Belief Concerning Andrew (Not Supported by the Word of God)According to a tradition of the early church, church leaders requested a fourth gospel to be written for another accounting of the life of Christ. Tradition holds that John and Andrew fasted for three days, and then John began writing the book in consultation with Andrew, who insured he remembered the details correctly.
Regardless of this possible collaboration, we declare the Book of John written in the Bible to be inspired by the Holy Spirit and the very Word of God.
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About the Authors
Kathy L. McFarland is a Becker Bible Studies Teacher and Author of Guided Bible Studies for Hungry Christians. She has received her Bachelor of Science degree in Religious Studies from Liberty University, and is currently seeking her Master of Divinity (Professional Ministries Track) degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary & Graduate School. Kathy is a noted expert on Old Testament exegesis, Christian apologetics, and Bible typology and mysteries.