Who Was Andrew the Apostle?
The Chosen depicts not only the life of Jesus but His many followers. Often when people recall these followers of Jesus, there are several figures who tend to stand out. Peter, the rock on which Jesus said he would build his church might come to mind (Matthew 16:18), or maybe James and John, who Jesus called “The Sons of Thunder” for their power. Undoubtedly, these three apostles were very influential in spreading Jesus' word and following Him.
However, Andrew the Apostle, who was the fourth follower of Jesus, is sometimes overlooked. Though Andrew isn’t as greatly discussed in the Bible, he was a steady and dedicated disciple. Peter was involved in more dramatic (and sometimes more miraculous) events, like when he walked on water, or when he denied Jesus three times during the event of His crucifixion.
Peter's brother, Andrew, also showed great faith in and love of Jesus and spent his last days as a missionary. There are fewer passages dedicated to him, and he wasn’t given a specific name from Jesus that there’s a record of—certain Gospels even leave him out of his most notable events.
But Andrew was considered faithful from the beginning. According to the New Testament, he dedicated his life to serving Jesus and played several important roles during His ministry and after His death and resurrection.
Andrew the Disciple
Scholars like to note that the name Andrew is of Greek origin and that his brother Simon (later given the name Peter by Jesus) had a Hebrew name. Andrew’s name speaks to the mixture of origins and cultures in Galilee at the time of Jesus' earthly ministry. He is also known as Saint Andrew in certain areas of the world and the Catholic Church, specifically as the patron saint of Scotland and Russia.
Becoming a Disciple
Peter and Andrew were generally considered close, especially considering that they worked together most days and both led lives as apostles of Jesus. Scripture often pairs the two, like in Matthew 10:2 when describing the apostles: “first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew.”
One of the first interactions Jesus had with both Andrew and his brother Simon Peter was when he saw them “casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen” (Matthew 4:18). Andrew did become an apostle and disciple of Jesus, but he was originally a fisherman by trade. The two brothers earned their living by taking a boat out on the Sea of Galilee and casting their nets all day. Fishermen usually worked year-round, despite weather conditions, and often had to work throughout the night as well.
Fishing in this manner was hard labor, from making the nets to hauling in varying loads of fish. The fishing market was also a big part of the economy and even politics in Galilee during Andrew’s time, which affected his livelihood.
Christ Calls Andrew to Be a “Fisher of Men”
As a disciple, Andrew was constantly serving with Jesus, witnessing miracles, and learning from his teachings himself. Jesus used parables to teach others lessons and principles, including when he taught the apostles.
As he did for many people during His ministry, Jesus used metaphors and scenarios that the specific groups or individuals He was teaching would understand, and Andrew and Simon were no exception. This often resulted in lessons set in their work-life environment. Some of the most memorable parables and miracles shared with Andrew were during fishing expeditions or founded in fishing metaphors. Jesus used fish so often in His teachings that some even consider fish to be a symbol of Jesus—as seen in the opening credits for The Chosen.
When Andrew was first called upon by Jesus, he was fishing with his brother and casting his net. Jesus called out to them and told them to come and follow Him (as His disciples), and that He would make them fishers of men, saying, “I will send you out to fish for people” (Matthew 4:19). This was a turning point in Andrew’s relationship with Jesus where he is called to teach and minister to others and become an actual disciple.
Andrew and Jesus
Andrew is often considered the first of the 12 apostles to find Jesus. Before his days as an apostle, he was first a follower of John the Baptist, who one day testified of Jesus, saying that he was the Lamb of God. John pointed Jesus out to Andrew and another unnamed apostle, who both followed Him. When Jesus saw the two men, He welcomed them to join Him.
They spent their days with Jesus, listening to His teachings and learning from Him. After his time with the Jesus, Andrew knew who He was; and after leaving Jesus, “the first thing Andrew did was…find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah’” (John 1:41).
Not only was Andrew one of the first disciples to discover and share Jesus' presence, but he is also one of the first to then follow Jesus. This has earned him the title of “The First-Called Apostle” by many scholars.
Aside from being one of the first apostles, there are also other significant biblical events that Andrew was a part of. Andrew was directly involved in specific miracles, lessons, and missionary moments.
The Feeding of 5,000 People
After John the Baptist was cruelly beheaded by Herod, Jesus had withdrawn from the people for some privacy on a boat. Soon, however, a large crowd gathered to be with him. Moved by compassion, Jesus went to them and healed their sick. As night drew near, the apostles with Jesus suggested he send the people home to eat so that he may rest and eat Himself, but Jesus insisted on feeding the people.
Then, the scriptures tell us that “Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, ‘here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish’” (John 6:8-9). Jesus then took the five loaves of bread and two small fish, gave thanks for the food, divided the thousands of people there, and miraculously fed each person until they were satisfied. There were approximately 5,000 men, not including the women and children in attendance.
Andrew went and found food even though he wasn’t sure how Jesus was going to feed the many people there. He even expressed some worry in feeding everyone, but still ultimately acted on Jesus' guidance. The scriptures then depict an amazing miracle that blessed thousands of God’s children.
The Destruction of the Temple and End Times
During a time when Jesus was in Jerusalem, an apostle commented on the temple as they were departing. Jesus told all of the disciples with Him that the temple would be destroyed, that “not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down” (Mark 13:2).
Later, on the Mount of Olives, Andrew, along with Peter, James, and John, privately asked Jesus when the destruction he described would happen. Jesus then told them about the end times and the many signs that will accompany them, but not without explaining that “the gospel must first be preached to all nations” (Mark 13:9).
This event teaches us two things about Andrew: First, that Andrew asked questions and wanted to learn from Jesus. Second, scholars use this passage to suggest that Andrew was a more involved and prominent apostle (compared to some of the 12) to be included in this more private conversation.
Jesus Predicts His Death
Another time, some Greeks looking for the truth about God approached the apostle Philip. “Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus” (John 12:22). During this time, Jesus predicts His death and discusses other topics with those present, including the Greeks.
Accomplishments of Andrew
Though Andrew in the Bible doesn’t fill passages of scripture, these events and other small details about Andrew highlight some of his influence and accomplishments as an apostle of Jesus.
Lifelong missionary: Proselytizing in Greece and Russia, Andrew was a known missionary for Jesus even after He had died.
Taught in new regions: Though the Bible doesn’t detail all of his missionary work, other accounts and records suggest that Andrew brought the teachings of Jesus to Scythia and regions around the Black Sea and Achaea.
Recognized the Jesus as the prophesied Messiah: He was the first apostle to call Jesus the Messiah, and also one of the first apostles called by Jesus.
Shared Jesus' teachings continuously: As soon as Andrew knew of Jesus, he went to his brother to share the good news and brought him to Jesus. He led Peter and many others to Jesus, during his service with Him and long after His resurrection.
Possible evangelist pioneer: Scholars believe that Andrew could have been one of the first evangelists.
Why Was Andrew the Apostle Crucified?
As a missionary, Andrew continued to spread the word of Jesus in different countries. In Greece, the governor, Aegeas, told Andrew to stop preaching since he and many in their country believed in the Roman gods. Andrew didn’t stop, which led to his crucifixion.
It’s not recorded in the Bible, but tradition suggests that Andrew requested to be crucified on an X-shaped cross out of respect and honor for Jesus' sacrifice, similar to how Peter asked to be crucified upside down.
See Andrew the Apostle Brought to Life in The Chosen
There isn’t much known about Andrew, and he isn’t spoken about in great detail throughout scripture, but he was very important to Jesus and was close to Him throughout his life. He was the first apostle of Jesus and supported Him until He died as a missionary.
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