Jesus Christ lived in a country crowded with seminary graduates. Yet not one of the people He chose was a member of the clergy. One of the most wonderful human beings in all Scripture is Andrew, not a preacher but a fisherman. We have no record of Andrew ever preaching a sermon or writing a book. But in leading Simon Peter to Jesus, Andrew became the spiritual grandfather of many sermons and at least two books. Without Andrew we might not have Peter.
Andrew was the rock before the Rock. He inspires us to remember that back of every famous Christian stands some unknown disciple who spoke a word of encouragement focused on Christ.
1. Andrew’s Work: (Andrew) “first found his brother.”
For every Christian, including those of us raised in Christian homes, there comes a moment when we must declare where we really stand with Christ, His cross, and His resurrection. From that moment on, life will never be the same again.
Andrew grew up in a Jewish family. His moment of declaration came as he heard about Jesus through John the Baptizer. He believed John’s message about Jesus. He had to tell it. When our moment comes, it ushers in an inward impulse to tell. From then on, silence is not an option.
“He … found his brother.” The expressive use of the language and the Greek grammatical structure leaves no doubt. Often it is easier to speak about the Lord with someone we don’t know. The Bible pattern is to bring God’s blessings first to those nearest to us.
Our Master told the delivered demoniac, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you” (
2. Andrew’s Word: “We have found the Messiah.”
His word was simple. Not simplistic, but simple. Did God answer a prayer? Tell someone in words too elementary to misconstrue. Is someone you know wrestling with guilt? Tell them simply about the cross where God’s Son forgives us. Are others worried about the future? Tell them clearly, Christ controls it! Perhaps one reason Jesus chose not to use that well of available religious professionals as His first evangelists was His awareness of our profession’s terrible record for complicating lucid truth to the point where ordinary people miss its essence and energy.
Sometimes we “professionals” take religion too seriously. In so doing, we make it unappealing. We seem to be afflicted with terminal sesquipedalianism, i.e., we love to use long words when simple phrases would suffice. Witnessing for Jesus is not arguing about religion, or defending a theological treatise. That is all well in the right place. More often, witnessing is merely telling of your personal experience with Him. It is “one beggar telling another where there is bread” (D. T. Niles).
Andrew’s word was also stimulating: “We have found the Messiah.” Those five words were pregnant with meaning for every Jew. Knowing that, Andrew made them his point of reference for Simon. Simon was looking for the Messiah, the One who was promised to fill empty lives, heal broken hearts, and forgive sins as no one else can do.
3. Andrew’s Winnings: “He brought Simon to Jesus.”
Isn’t this at the heart of what we are all called for? In a town that saw Simon (meaning “sand”) as a rough-edged, quick-tempered fellow, who might curse you if you pushed him too far, Christ’s eyes penetrated beneath the rough seaman’s exterior and leather-like skin that the world saw when it looked into Peter’s face. Jesus saw not a piece of sand, but a rock — a diamond in the rough — on which to build the greatest movement in world history.
Who knows what God sees when He looks inside a heart? Who knows what potential hides just below that rough exterior of someone we know? Only God. It is said: “Any fool can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the apples in a seed.”
The world worries over where you hail from, but Jesus is concerned about who you can be. The world focuses on our shortfalls, but Christ says it is what we do with what we have that really makes the difference between success and failure. That is the way He is. He looks deeper and finds what is best in us. With Him there are no limits to what we can be. I wonder: is there a Simon somewhere just beyond the reach of my voice, perhaps in your life?
Near Charlotte, North Carolina, some local preachers decided not to support a community revival meeting because they considered the evangelist lacking in sophistication. A Presbyterian Sunday School teacher ignored their decision and encouraged his students to attend. In response, a dairy farmer’s lanky son attended the meeting, and as a result surrendered his heart to Jesus. The whole world has heard the name of that son of a North Carolina farmer: Billy Graham. We also know the preacher’s name, but we don’t know the name of the Sunday School teacher without whose spark a whole generation of people might not know the message of the cross! Perhaps it was Andrew. Or, maybe it was your name.
Who knows what God has in mind for someone you and I tell about the Lord in simple words? Only God does. All we know is that He will do something. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if each of us could feel the joy of bringing someone to Christ this week? There is someone you know, who no other Christian knows, who needs to know new life in Jesus.