In search of the Apostles, 'Andrew, brother of Peter'
'The First Called'
Andrew 'The first called '
Stop for a moment and picture a scene in your mind. A beautiful spring day with the sun slowly climbing in the sky, you're walking by the sea, or lakeside as you might like to call it and there are men working on their boats, some are unloading the catch they have and loading it onto wooden carts ready to take it to market as the village markets begin to open up, some are even being salted and stuffed into wooden barrel-like containers to be taken the sixty miles or so Jerusalem, the nearest big city, about sixty miles or two days by road away.
In the distance there's a lone figure walking, he's seemingly just ambling along, but he stops and talks to a bunch of men, there's at least five of them in the group, possibly more, but he seems to address four in particular, and the strangest thing happens, they stop what they're doing, put their nets down, two of them reach over and kiss the oldest in the group, possibly their father and leave right there and then when the work isn't finished, Who can this be?
Okay, there's a bit of artistic licence there! I know that, but I wonder if that's the picture you and I have when we read the gospels about Jesus calling his first four disciples? By the way, the picture is pretty close to a true one according to the accounts, but it wasn't the first time some of them had met Jesus!
Two of them (Andrew and John) had met him about a month or so before, and in particular, Andrew was apparently the first one to realize who Jesus actually was.
Prōtoklētos (Πρωτόκλητος) (The 'first called')
This is the name given to Andrew the brother of Peter by the Orthodox Church.Catholics see their church as a link to St Peter with the Pope as being the 'successor' to Peter as the 'vicar of Christ' here on earth, the Orthodox Church traces its roots back to St Andrew none other than Peters brother.
Andrew, Peter's brother
Bringing people to Jesus
The first time Andrew shows up is right there after Jesus' baptism. He was there when John the Baptist dipped Jesus in the Jordan, he was one of the people who heard John identify Jesus as the 'Lamb of God'
We don't know how many heard John say those words, we do know that only two men took it on themselves to find out more about this man.
Think about that for a moment. They heard a great prophet in the nation identify the one whom God had sent, maybe they were part of a crowd that heard it, we just don't know, but they went and sought him out, they wanted to know more!
John’s Disciples Follow Jesus
35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”
They said, “Rabbi where are you staying?”
39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”
So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.
40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah" 42 And he brought him to Jesus.
Pretty much every time we meet Andrew after that point he's bringing someone to Jesus for a meeting. He first brought his brother Simon who became the Peter of the gospels we all know and love, then he brought the boy with the fish and loaves in the story of the feeding of the five thousand, one of our favorite stories from the Bible.
Later on, Philip has some Greek friends who want to meet with Jesus, but he doesn't go to Simon Peter, James or even John, he comes to Andrew to make the introduction.
Actually, it's interesting here as Andrew was the first to follow Jesus, but he also doesn't have a Hebrew name! Every other disciple has a Hebrew name or a Hebrew equivalent, even Philip is called by something else in places, but Andrew only has the Greek name. Ἀνδρέας (pronounced Andreas) is related to ἀνδρεία (Andreia meaning 'manly' or bravery (Valor) and associated with the Greek word 'ανθρπς' (Anthropos meaning mankind). So in some ways, Andrew is the first one to introduce none Jews to Jesus!
How one artist sees him
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Andrew from a different perspective
What happened after?
Actually not a lot is known about Andrew after the close of the Gospels, he hardly appears in the book of Acts at all, where Peter is prominent Andrew seems to disappear, but we do know some things.
Andrew headed north, and third-century tradition has it that he went out preaching the gospel in regions to the north beyond the borders of the Roman Empire.
Up until 4 BC Judea hadn't been totally in the Roman Empire but was what was known as a 'client kingdom' one that nominally had independence, but in times of trouble could call on Rome for help to repel invaders, Judea had been seen by Rome as vital to the supply of grain to the Empire and as such needed to be protected, so until 4 BC was given a degree of autonomy.
Further to the northeast were the 'client kingdoms' of Armenia (present-day eastern Turkey, Armenia and Georgia) and beyond them was Scythia where lots of smaller kingdoms were known, they were warlike, but also well known to Rome and Jewish traders were in abundance through the region.
Andrew is known to have gone to the northeastern Kingdoms and preached as far away as Scythia.
Eusebius of Caesarea The first church Historian (early fourth century) says that Andrew reached Scythia (his source is Origin of Alexandria early third century) and all along the coast of the Black sea, later tradition claims that he reached as far as modern day Kiev in the Ukraine.
Before you totally discount the idea it's worthwhile to note that Roman coins from the second century have been found along the banks of the Volga river as far north as Moscow and Viking traders were known to use their longboats along both the Volga and Dnieper rivers (they were ideal for river use) as early as the second century! He could well have reached there.
Important sites for Andrew
Andrew and Peter meet Jesus
Jesus crucified, buried and rose again
Andrew heads north, he certainly reached here.
Andrew is reputed to have reached here, well outside the Empire!
Later legends have him reaching here
Site of his martyrdom. Tradition has it he was crucified on an X shaped cross
Tradition says in the 3rd century some of his bones were taken to 'Caledonia' as Scotland was then known.
I've always thought that the relics of St Andrew in Scotland got there as a result of marauding crusaders, but it turns out they actually got there much earlier, one legend has them arriving as early as 350 AD with a monk from Patras who's been told in a dream to take them to 'the ends of the earth'
The most likely is that they arrived around the beginning of the sixth century with Augustinian monks, the church in Britain at the time was 'Celtic' and wanting to maintain some form of independence from the growing influence of Rome so they were able to secure some of the relics of St Andrew and were able to claim a link back to the Apostles (and thus didn't always have to do what the successor to 'St Peter' always said!).
Lessons for us today.
Andrew was martyred around 60 AD in a place called Patras in Greece, tradition has it that it was on November the 30th (hence his feast day). He was scheduled to be crucified in the traditional way but asked the executioners if they could change the type of cross to an X shape as he wasn't worthy to die on the same type of cross that Jesus had died on!
What happened to the churches he founded after? we know that Armenia was the first kingdom to actually turn to Christ in the early second century, other Apostles would also go there and would be instrumental, did they all go in one group? we can't really tell, what we can tell is that Andrew was the kind of believer that didn't fit any mould!
He went outside the Empire and reached out in the 'barbarian lands' to the north, in the region that the Romans feared and would one day cause the Empire to collapse, to a place they called 'The sea of nations'
As such Andrew became a kind of symbol to those who don't really fit any 'pattern' like the Celts who didn't want to follow all that the bishops in Rome said, to the Orthodox who saw things differently to some of the others and to anyone who wants to 'introduce people to Jesus' no matter where they're from!