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The Apostles - Andrew

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The life and tragic death of the Apostle Andrew

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Mark 1:16–18 KJV 1900
16 Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. 18 And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.


All four Gospels identify Andrew as the brother of Simon Peter (Mark 1:16; Matthew 4:18; Luke 6:14; John 1:40; 6:8)
Both brothers were from Bethsaida, a fishing village located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, as was Philip (John 1:44).
Both Matthew and Mark state that Andrew and Simon Peter were living in Capernaum and working as fishermen when Jesus formally called them to follow Him.
According to their account, they both promptly responded to His call and left everything to become His disciples.
In the accounts of both Matthew and Mark, Andrew and Simon Peter are closely associated with James and John.
Simon Peter and Andrew’s calls are listed right alongside the calls of James and John (Mark 1:16-20; Matthew 4:18-22).
Andrew is mentioned in relation with Simon Peter, James, and John in Mark 1:29.
It’s James and John that accompany Jesus to Simon Peter and Andrew’s house where Jesus heals Simon’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:30-31).
When Jesus made His temple pronouncement in Mark 13:2-3, it was Andrew, Simon Peter, James, and John that asked Him about it.
These four men occupy the first four positions in the apostolic lists.
We see in John 1:35-40 that, before he became a follower of Jesus, Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist. John’s testimony of who Jesus was introduced Andrew to Jesus.
After this, Andrew introduced Simon Peter, his brother, to Jesus (John 1:41-42).
In John’s Gospel, Andrew appears frequently with Philip.
John 1:44 states they were from the same town, Bethsaida.
John 6:5-9 states it was Philip and Andrew that interacted with Jesus during the feeding of the 5,000.
John 12:20-22 shows them serving as facilitators between a mentioned Greek people and Jesus during His final week.


From the Greek name, Andreas, meaning Manly
He’s mentioned only 12 times, and more often than not, he’s referred to as “Simon Peter’s brother”
It’s interesting that Peter is never mentioned as being Andrew’s brother
Andrew is also referenced indirectly in passages that mention the disciples as a group in the Gospels and in the book of Acts
In the four apostolic lists we find in scripture, Andrew is listed in two separate position.
In Matthew and Luke he’s listed second underneath Simon Peter.
In Mark and Acts, he’s listed fourth underneath Peter, James, and John.

Andrew in Mark

Andrew is more prominent in the book of Mark than in any other Synoptic Gospel or in Acts.
The first mention of Andrew in Mark, Jesus is calling him and Peter to be ‘fishers of men’ Andrew and Peter respond immediately.
Then we find Andrew going to Simon Peter’s house alongside James and John in Capernaum where Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law.
Andrew appears next in Mark’s list of the twelve disciples, where he appears fourth underneath Peter, James, and John.
This is the list that Jesus commissions to go out and preach the Gospel with authority to heal and cast out devils.
Andrew is mentioned for the final time in Mark in reference to the Mount of Olives, where Andrew, Peter, James, and John ask Jesus privately about His earlier temple pronouncement.
The mention of Andrew in relation to the account of Jesus healing Peter’s mother-in-law and on the Mount of Olives is not mentioned anywhere else.
In both instances, the same four disciples are mentioned together, namely Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John.

Andrew in Matthew

Andrew is mentioned only twice in Matthew’s Gospel.
Jesus calls Andrew and Simon Peter to follow Him and become fishers of men. They immediately respond.
Andrew also appears in Matthew’s list of apostles.
In Matthews list, Andrew appears second underneath Simon Peter.
This also is where Jesus commissions the twelve to go preach and to have authority to heal and over unclean spirits.

Andrew in Luke — Acts

We find Andrew mentioned only once by name in each book
In both instances, He is listed among the twelve men Jesus called to be His apostles.
In Luke, Andrew is mentioned second, underneath Simon Peter.
The men are named by Jesus only after completing an entire night of prayer.
In Acts, Andrew is listed after the apostles’ return to Jerusalem following Jesus’ ascension at the Mount of Olives. They then enter into an upper room and begin to tarry there, uniting continually in prayer.
In this list, Andrew is listed fourth, beneath Peter, James, and John.

Andrew in John

Andrew is more prominent in John’s Gospel than in any of the Synoptic Gospels and Acts.
John’s account of Andrew is also more detailed.
He appears four times in John’s Gospel.
We first find Andrew alongside John the Baptist with one other as he proclaims “Behold, the Lamb of God.” Andrew then begins to follow Jesus
Jesus then invites the two men to join Him.
John’s account never mentions the name of the other disciple
Some speculate this was Philip
Others that it was John, the beloved disciple. This seems to be the preferred tradition.
Afterwards, Andrew finds his brother, Simon Peter, and declares “We have found the Messiah”
Andrew then brings Simon Peter to Jesus
Andrew and Philip
Andrew and Philip appear together several times in John’s Gospel. As they are from the same town, this makes sense.
We first find them together at the feeding of the 5,000
Jesus asks Philip where they can buy bread.
Philip responds that even 200 denarii would not be enough to feed them all
Andrew interjects that there is a boy here with five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?
Jesus then miraculously uses these to feed the large crowd.
They also appear together during an encounter with a Greek crowd during the Passover.
They approach Philip and request to see Jesus
He tells Andrew, and together they inform Jesus.
The account suggests that the Greek crowd was uncertain as to whether Jesus would receive Gentiles or not
The reaction of Philip seems to suggest he was uncertain as well.
Because Andrew approached Jesus with this, he is considered by some to be “a mediator for Greek proselytes”.
We see different and varying accounts between the Synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John, but they are not contradictory. Rather, they are complimentary.

Andrew’s End

It is probable the Apostle Andrew met his end in Achaia, by means of crucifixion.

Andrew and the Early Church Fathers

The Lexham Bible Dictionary Andrew in Patristic Traditions

Andrew in Patristic Traditions

Andrew is a source of mild interest in the literature of the traditional early Christian fathers. Many of the references are anchored in details provided in the New Testament.

In the early second century AD, the church father Papias mentions Andrew in comments about his preference for apostolic oral tradition: “If … any one came, who had been a follower of the elders, I questioned him in regard to the words of the elders—what Andrew or what Peter said, or what was said by Philip, or by Thomas, or by James, or by John, or by Matthew, or by any other of the disciples of the Lord, and what things Aristion and the presbyter John, the disciples of the Lord, say. For I did not think that what was to be gotten from the books would profit me as much as what came from the living and abiding voice” (cited in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 3.39.4; NPNF2 1:121).

The Muratorian Fragment also mentions Andrew in relation to the origin of the Gospel of John. Lines 9–16a read: “The fourth of the Gospels is that of John, [one] of the disciples. To his fellow disciples and bishops, who had been urging him [to write], he said, ‘Fast with me from today to three days, and what will be revealed to each one let us tell it to one another.’ In the same night it was revealed to Andrew, [one] of the apostles, that John should write down all things in his own name while all of them should review it” (trans. Metzger, Canon, 306). Bruce noted that the only detail of historical worth in the account was the implication that others shared in the publication of the Gospel beyond the Evangelist. This, Bruce maintained, may have been “an intelligent inference from John 21:24” (Bruce, John, 10).

The church fathers of the early centuries gave few details about Andrew. In discussing Judaism, Epiphanius (ca. 315–403) drew a comparison between Abraham and Jesus’ early disciples, Peter, Andrew, James, and John. Like them, Abraham “parted from his family when summoned by (God’s) bidding, in obedience to his Summoner” (Epiphanius, Panarion 4.1.2). He also describes these same four disciples as Jesus’ “original choices” (Panarion 20.4.2). Epiphanius makes several references to Jesus’ call of Andrew as reflected in the Gospels, especially the Gospel of John (Panarion 51.13.3–4; 14.1–6; 15.3, 7–8, 12; 17.4–7; 19.1). He did this in refutation of the Alogoi sect that did not acknowledge the Gospel of John or the book of Revelation (compare 51.3.1–6). Their rationale was that “John’s books do not agree with the other apostles” (51.4.5).

Several of the church fathers additionally preserve competing traditions about where Andrew ministered:

• Eusebius of Caesarea, writing in AD 325, recounts that Andrew ministered in Scythia (Ecclesiastical History 3.1.1; NPNF2 1:132).

• Gregory of Nazianzus (ca. AD 325–389) identified Andrew with Epirus (Oration 33.11; NPNF2 7:332).

• Jerome (ca. 347–420), in a letter dated AD 395 or 396, placed Andrew in Achaia (Letter LIX, To Marcella [5]; NPNF2 6:123).

Papias - the Bishop of Hierapolis in the first half of the second century A.D. He was associated with the Apostle John and a contemporary of Polycarp.
Muratorian Fragment - Also know as the Muratorian canon, Contains one of the oldest canonical lists of the New Testament from early Christianity. Thought to have been written around AD 170-200.

Andrew in Apocryphal Sources

We find a much wider range or references to Andrew in the apocryphal literature.
While these nontraditional sources demonstrate greater interest in Andrew than traditional sources, their information is much less anchored in the details of the New Testament and are much more fanciful in scope.
In the fourth century, Eusebius mentioned in a discussion, which books did and did not belong to the New Testament canon. He organized the books he discussed into four broad categories:
The recognized books
The disputed books
The spurious books
Those utilized by aberrant groups
I will mention just a few

The Acts of Andrew

Eusebius placed this book in the fourth category describing such books as those “cited by the heretics under the name of the apostles, including … the Acts of Andrew and John and the other apostles, which no one belonging to the succession of ecclesiastical writers has deemed worthy of mention in his writings”.
Dated between the second and third centuries AD.
We must reconstruct the text of the Acts of Andrew from a wide variety of sources that provide differing details about Andrew’s activities
The best known source is the epitome of Gregory of Tours. His account was reduced from the original because of the reputation of “its excessive verbosity”.
In his account, we find the following:
Andrew’s missionary endeavors following Jesus’ ascension
He begins in Achaia, ministers throughout modern-day Turkey, and returns to Macedonia, performing various miracles along the way.
In Achaia, He heals and convert the proconsul’s wife, Maximilla, and later converts the proconsul’s brother.
After Maximilla chooses Christianity and leaves her husband, he has Andrew arrested, scourged, and crucified. Maximilla embalms and buries him.
Some agree this is a Christian attempt to transform Graeco-Roman myth by retelling the story of Andrew in terms of Homer’s Odyssey.
Others state this is merely a “propaganda document” attempting to call readers to true philosophy in contrast to paganism.
Other apocryphal sources of note:
The Gospel of Peter (2nd century AD) states “But I, Simon Peter, and my brother Andrew took our nets and went to the sea”.
The Epistle to the Apostles (mid to late second century AD) mentions Andrew twice.
The gnostic work Pistis Sophia (late third/early fourth century AD) mentions Andrew several times.
The Gospel of Bartholomew mentions Andrew
Mentioned in several other apocryphal works

Andrew in Later Ecclesial Traditions

As we progress through history, we find Andrew’s prominence grows to a degree not suggested by the New Testament accounts.
In the Orthodox tradition, he is referred to as Protokletos (first-called). This is based on John 1:35-40 where Andrew is the first of the named disciples that Jesus calls.

Even after the composition of the Acts of Andrew, the apostle remained relatively obscure for nearly six centuries. Because of its popularity among Manicheans, the Acts of Andrew itself was poorly transmitted except for the Myrmidon story, which soon circulated independently as the Acts of Andrew and Matthias in the City of the Cannibals. In 357, Constantius II deposited the apostle’s putative remains in the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople, along with those of Luke and Timothy. By the 6th century, Patras and Sinope boasted of having been evangelized by Andrew, but there is little evidence that Christians elsewhere gave the apostle special attention.

Sometime in the 8th century, however, Andrew was pressed into service to legitimate Byzantine claims to apostolicity. For centuries, the church in Rome had claimed Peter as its founder. On the other hand, Byzantium, largely the product of Constantine’s relocation of the imperial capital to the E, could claim no founding apostle. This was not so problematic when Rome and Byzantium were on good terms, but when the two great ecclesiastical centers parted ways, Byzantium was in desperate need of apostolic pedigree. Andrew was perfectly suited for the purpose. According to the gospel of John, he was the first of the apostles to come to Jesus, and later he brought his brother Peter, Rome’s favorite, to the Lord. The Acts of Andrew and traditions derived from it had placed Andrew’s ministry in the region of the Black Sea, and if one can trust the epitome of Gregory of Tours, the Acts in fact sent the apostle to Byzantium. Furthermore, from the time of Constantius II, Andrew’s relics reposed in Constantinople’s Church of the Holy Apostles.

In the West, Andrew became patron of several countries, including Greece, Russia, and Scotland.
In the medieval period he became associated with an X-shaped cross (a “decussate” or “saltire” cross), now known as Saint Andrew’s Cross.
In the early 13th century, crusaders transported Andrew’s alleged remains from Constantinople to Amalfi, Italy.
In Celtic lore, the fourth century monk Regulus is credited with bringing Andrew’s remains to Scotland.
Greek Orthodoxy and segments of the Western Church, including Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, and Lutheranism, observe the feast day of Andrew on November 30th.
In Scotland and Romania, St. Andrew’s Day is an official national day.

Learning From Andrew

So what do we know about Andrew? What can we glean from his life?
Although his name is a Greek name, his brother was given an Aramaic name
His name means “Manly”.
He’s just not that prominent a figure in the New Testament.
He seems to be recognized as an important, albeit quiet, member of this group.
He is the ‘First-Called’.
He led his brother, Simon Peter, to Jesus.
He was the one Philip came to in the matter of the Greeks.
He was singled out as being the one, along with Peter, James, and John, who inquired about Jesus’ teaching on the temple.
We don’t need to be prominent in the eyes of those around us, only in the eyes of Jesus Christ
His brother, whom he ‘won’ to Jesus, became the chief.
I don’t think that mattered to Andrew.
Those that are quiet amongst us, those that wouldn’t consider themselves assertive or bold, can still be used mightily.
Strength takes many forms, but rarely in bluster and bravado.
He could see the answer to the situation, but couldn’t recognize it as being the solution.
We need the heart of a disciple maker.
Because of his calm strength and assurance, others came to him for counsel and advice.
He was not afraid to ask questions when he didn’t understand something.
He forsook Jesus along with the other disciples, yet ended up doing wondrous, miraculous things in Jesus’ Name afterward.
He died a horrific death with his faith intact.
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