You see a gorgeous sunset, or a full moon, or a funny cat video on Youtube. Or perhaps you find a great new coffee shop, or a band, or playground, or craft brewery, or fashion label. Your FIRST reaction is to ENJOY it. But then, for most of us, our SECOND reaction is to want to SHARE it with someone who’ll APPRECIATE it.
Why do we DO that? I think there are TWO REASONS. Firstly, because a pleasure shared is a pleasure DOUBLED. We get EXTRA enjoyment out of seeing someone ELSE enjoy it. It’s not just the experience, there’s the SHARED experience. Which is EVEN BETTER.
The second reason we want to share good things is because we want our friend to BENEFIT. We want THEM to have a good laugh, or to find JOY just like WE have.
And that’s at the heart of why many people in our church are quite evangelistic about A CERTAIN DIET. Lots of people have found it a really effective way to lose weight, with other health benefits too. And they want their friends to benefit like THEY have. And people have found that the topic of food and the ketogenic diet seems to find its way into ALL SORTS of conversations.
Wouldn’t it be WONDERFUL if we were as enthusiastic about sharing OUR SAVIOUR and LORD as we are about OUR DIET?! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we got such JOY and BENEFIT from Jesus that telling others JUST BUBBLED OUT of us?! Because we want THEM to know him TOO!
And that’s what we see about the Apostle ANDREW. How he brings people to meet Jesus.
- ANDREW’S CHARACTERISTICS: JOHN 1:40
The first thing to notice about Andrew is HIS NAME. ANDREAS. It’s Greek for “man”, or “manly”. And it may be John, the author, wants us to see him as A REPRESENTATIVE DISCIPLE. Every man. Someone for us to IMITATE.
He’s Mr Average. One writer calls him “Saint of the rank and file.” He was never known as a great teacher, or preacher or scholar. God never used him to write Scripture.
He’s less well-known than some of the other disciples. In v40 he’s referred to simply as “Simon Peter’s brother.” Because it’s PETER who’s the well-known one. But that doesn’t mean Andrew doesn’t have an impact. Ordinary people can still make a difference!
Notice that Andrew’s the FIRST one to meet Jesus. (In the Greek Orthodox he’s called Protokletos – the first-called.) And then it’s Andrew who brings Peter to Jesus.
- ANDREW’S CONVERSION: JOHN 1:35–39
Jump back up to v35, and notice how Andrew met Jesus. John’s out in the wilderness, baptising people. And he’s with two of his disciples. They’re un-named at the moment. He sees Jesus walking past, and he points his disciples to him. “Look, the Lamb of God.”
It’s a summary of what he’d said the PREVIOUS day. Back up in v29, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away, or who CARRIES, the sin of the world!”
Remember, dealing with SIN is what John the Baptist’s ministry is all about. Preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, Mark 1:4 says. And in Matthew 3:6 people are coming to him in the wilderness, CONFESSING their SINS. And he’s BAPTISING them in the Jordan. And he preaches, in Luke 3, that people need to produce fruit in KEEPING in repentance. (To share with others. To not be greedy. To be just and fair. To be CONTENT.)
But even as he’s DOING that, he recognises that he’s not really DEALING with sin. He’s preaching about people changing their attitudes, and their behaviour. But he can’t change people’s NATURE. He can’t change them so they don’t sin any more. Or don’t WANT to sin. And he can’t bring FORGIVENESS. Or remove GUILT.
He’s only introducing the One who REALLY WILL deal with sin. JESUS. Who’ll baptise WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT. Who’ll bring new birth. Genuine change. From God HIMSELF.
And here in John’s Gospel, he calls Jesus “the Lamb of God who CARRIES the sin of the world”. It’s the language of a sacrificial sin offering. Leviticus 1:4 says that when the priest offers an animal for pay for sin, he’s to “lay his hand on the head of the animal, and it will be accepted ON HIS BEHALF to make atonement for him.”
The priest, by laying his hand on the animal, symbolises that it’s his REPRESENTATIVE. He is ONE with the sacrifice. His sin, and its guilt, is TRANSFERRED to the animal. And the animal CARRIES it. And then is PUNISHED for it. On behalf of the person who BRINGS it.
And that’s the picture John presents of Jesus. Someone who can deal with your sin. Who can CARRY it. And then bear God’s wrath for it in your place.
John’s preaching can’t do that. And his water baptism can’t do that. And the changed behaviour of his hearers can’t do it. It’s no wonder he points his disciples to Jesus instead. And it’s no wonder his disciples FOLLOW JESUS INSTEAD.
There are all sorts of ways you can help your friends and family. Good advice. Practical help. Financial support. A shoulder to cry on. But you can’t carry their sin. Only Jesus can do that. Do what John did. Point your friends to JESUS.
The two disciples change their allegiances. And start following Jesus, instead. Before long we’ll find out one of them is Andrew. The other one is probably John, the writer of the gospel. V38 and 39. They ask Jesus where he’s staying. He invites them back, and they spend the day there with him.
Most of our English translations say something like that. But a more literal translation of the Greek gives a different emphasis.
“They asked, Teacher where are you remaining (or dwelling)? He said, Come and see. So they went and saw where he remained (or dwelt), and they remained WITH him (or dwelt with him) that day.”
Just in case you didn’t pick it up. Remaining with Jesus seems to be important. In fact John’s gospel uses the word forty times. Especially when we get to Ch 15, and Jesus describes himself as the VINE. And the disciples are the BRANCHES.
You see, for John, the Christian life is about FOLLOWING JESUS, TRUSTING him, and then REMAINING in him.
And Andrew, our representative “every” man, gives us the example to follow.
Don’t follow HUMAN leaders. They can’t carry your sin. Follow Jesus. Trust him. And REMAIN with him. Don’t follow another. That’s the lesson! That’s the model.
We don’t know exactly what they talked about. Or even how long they were there. But it must have been a pretty significant conversation. Because the first chance Andrew gets, once he leaves Jesus, v41, he goes and tells his brother Simon, “We’ve found the Messiah.” And he brings him to Jesus.
Andrew follows Jesus on the strength of John the Baptist’s recommendation – “Look, the Lamb of God who carries the sin of the world”. And by the end of the day, he understands that HE’S THE MESSIAH. Probably KNOWING what it means to have his sins CARRIED. And dealt with. And genuinely washed away.
He experiences something wonderful. And he wants to SHARE it with the brother he loves. He wants PETER to know the joy HE knows. He HEARS about Jesus. He FOLLOWS him. Then he TELLS Peter. And then he BRINGS Peter to Jesus. That’s the process.
And then when PETER meets Jesus, we see the beginning of the NEXT step in the chain. V42. Jesus looks at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).
It’s the beginning of Peter’s relationship with Jesus. Andrew means MAN. And Peter, in Greek, means ROCK. In the future, Peter will be part of the foundation stone Jesus builds his church on. One of the key people in how the church grows and spreads. Grows as people like Peter and Andrew HEAR about Jesus, TRUST him, go and TELL others, and bring THEM to Jesus TOO.
And it BEGINS because Andrew TELLS Peter about Jesus. And BRINGS him to Jesus.
But it’s not only Andrew’s FAMILY he tells. There are people he doesn’t even know.
We get a couple more small glimpses into Andrew’s method of evangelism. And they’re only found in John’s gospel. Perhaps John, as a close friend, with the shared background he had with Andrew, was the only one who NOTICED.
In John 6, a huge crowd follow Jesus and the disciples up on a mountainside. Phillip can’t see any way they’ll be able to feed everyone. V7 He says that even if they had eight month’s wages, it wouldn’t even buy enough for a BITE for everyone. And v8 is where Andrew comes into the story.
8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
Such a small decision, but look at how Jesus used it!
Andrew’s looking around. Perhaps gone for a walk, and meeting people. And he finds a boy, whose mum’s packed him lunch. He can’t see such a small amount will really help the situation. But he does what he’s in the habit of doing. He brings the boy to Jesus. Andrew can’t solve the problem. But he goes to the One who CAN. He brings Jesus what he’s GOT, and trusts Jesus for THE REST.
And it’s not even BIG faith, is it!? “But how far will they go among so many?” he says.
Jesus multiplied that small act of obedience, and used it to bless thousands. Jesus could have produced food out of thin air, but he doesn’t. Instead, he works with what Andrew brings him. He loves to see our dependence and faith.
Can you do THAT? Can you come to Jesus part way? With your questions? And your uncertainties? And trust him for the answers?
“Jesus, here’s my unbelieving family. I’ve tried to share you for years. But they’re not interested. And I keep messing it up. I’m not sure what you can do with them, or with me.”
“Jesus, here’s my Uni friends. They’re all far smarter than me. And everything they say always sounds so reasonable, and well thought out. I never seem to be able to answer their questions very well. I’m not sure how you’re going to be able to save them.”
“Jesus, here’s my gifts and talents. It’s not much. I’m inconsistent, and my prayer life isn’t much. And I’m not experienced. But there’s that need for … a Scripture teacher/ a musician/ someone to meet up with that new Christian … I’m not sure how I can help.”
Can YOU be an Andrew? Bring what you’ve GOT to Jesus. And leave the results up to HIM?
Our last small story about Andrew is in John 12. Jesus is in Jerusalem for the Passover. He’s just entered Jerusalem on a donkey with the crowds cheering him, and blessing him as king of Israel.
But it’s not only the Jews who are attracted to Jesus. In v20 we read about some Greeks who are there for the Passover TOO. And they want to find out more about Jesus. They ask Phillip, one of the disciples. Perhaps his Greek name shows he spoke Greek well.
For some reason, rather than taking them straight to Jesus himself. He goes to Andrew. And look at what Andrew does. It’s no surprise. 12.22. “Andrew and Phillip told Jesus.” Such a small gesture, you hardly even notice it. But it may have been LIFE-CHANGING for those Greeks!
Can YOU do that?
Bringing people in from the fringes. Outsiders. To meet Jesus. Gentiles who haven’t been included in God’s people. But their part of the WORLD whose sin the Lamb of God has come to carry. They’re part of the WORLD God loved so much, he sent his one and only Son that WHOEVER believes in him won’t perish, but have eternal life.
And Andrew BELIEVES that. Believes that ANYBODY can have forgiven sins, and eternal life, through Jesus. So that’s who he brings them to.
That’s all we’re told. We don’t know what happened when Jesus met them. Whether they became disciples or not.
And, in a sense, that’s the way it works when WE do it as well. We never know, beforehand, how it will turn out. And often, we never find out AFTERWARDS. But Jesus’ salvation doesn’t depend on whether we’re aware of the outcome. It doesn’t depend on our work AT ALL. Because we can’t save them. Or carry their sin. But we can bring them to Jesus, like Andrew did. And leave the rest up to HIM.
Do you know Jesus like that? Have you had YOUR sin forgiven? Carried? Dealt with? Perhaps you’re OLD. Perhaps you’re YOUNG. Perhaps this is the FIRST TIME you’ve heard about Jesus. Or perhaps it’s the HUNDREDTH time. But if you don’t know what it means to walk through life with the burden of sin and guilt removed, then COME TO JESUS. And let him CARRY it FOR you.
I can’t DO it. But I can bring you to the One who CAN.
Many of you have already DONE that. So I want to encourage you to do what Andrew did next. Find someone to TELL. And then BRING THEM to Jesus.
You may be an ordinary person like Andrew. But God can use ordinary people in extraordinary ways.
YOU can’t save your friends or family or workmates. But you can bring them to Jesus, who CAN save them. You can’t deal with their sin and guilt. But you can bring them to Jesus, who CAN.
Bring them to Jesus in PRAYER. Bring them to the Bible where they can MEET him. Bring them to events and other people who can explain what following Jesus looks like.
And leave the rest up to Jesus. The Lamb of God, who carries the sin of the world.