Who Was Andrew the Apostle?
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Who Was Andrew the Apostle?

by Angel Studios | January 12, 2023

Often when people recall the apostles of Jesus Christ, there are several figures who tend to stand out. Peter, the rock on which Christ 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 more than influential in spreading Christ’s word and following him.

However, Andrew the Apostle was a fourth follower of Christ who 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 Christ 3 times during the event of his crucifixion. These events are so notable because of the significant lessons they teach us—no one can deny the testament of Peter.

Paired with the sometimes dynamic Peter was his brother, Andrew, who not only showed great faith in and love of Christ, but also spent his last days as a missionary just like Peter, teaching God’s children. 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 steadfast, honest, and righteous Andrew was considered faithful from the beginning. He dedicated his life to serving the Lord and played several important roles during Christ’s ministry and after his death and resurrection. Andrew is not often remarked on in scripture, but his devotion and obedience to Christ is nothing short of remarkable.

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 Christ) had a Hebrew name. Andrew’s name speaks to the mixture of origins and cultures in Galilee at the time of Christ’s earthly ministry. He is also known as “Saint Andrew” in certain areas of the world, 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 Christ. 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 Christ, 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, Christ 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 Christ.

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.

Leaving their nets to follow Jesus took great faith and sacrifice, and scripture says that “at once they left their nets and followed him” (Matthew 4:20). Andrew became a dedicated follower of Christ, both during Christ’s ministry and later as a missionary. Just as Jesus promised, Andrew learned how to reach others and bring them to the truth through his years of teaching, proselyting, and service.

Andrew The First-Called Apostle & Other Significant Events

Scholars have suggested that because of his quickness to follow Jesus, Andrew was rather faithful and even apostolic by nature. We see this in his active spiritual life, his desire to discover and know the Savior, and his commitment to Christ.

Andrew and The Messiah

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 so that they might know him. When Christ saw the two men, he welcomed them to join him.

They spend the day with Jesus, listening to his teachings and being enlightened. After his time with the Lord, Andrew knew who Jesus 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 Christ’s 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 Christ suggested he send the people home to eat so that he may rest and eat himself, but Christ 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 5 loaves of bread and 2 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 the Lord was going to feed the many people there. He even expressed some worry in feeding everyone, but still ultimately acted on Christ’s guidance. This resulted in 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 Christ. 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.

Andrew was the apostle that Philip went to for a decision on whether or not to bring the Greeks to Christ. This speaks to Andrew’s closeness with the Savior and his gift to bring others to Christ. This also shows us that Andrew believed Christ wanted all men to come unto him and had faith that they would be received by the Lord.

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 Christ.

  • Lifelong missionary: Proselytizing in Greece and Russia, Andrew was a known missionary for Jesus Christ even after Christ 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 gospel to Scythia and regions around the Black Sea and Achaea.

  • Recognized the Messiah: He was the first apostle to call Jesus the Messiah, and also one of the first apostles called by Jesus.

  • Shared Christ continuously: As soon as Andrew knew of Jesus, he went to his brother to share the good news and brought him to the Savior. He led Peter and many others to Jesus, during his service with the Lord 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 Christ 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 Christ’s sacrifice, similar to how Peter asked to be crucified upside down, which shows his love for and devotion to Christ and the truth of the gospel.

What Can We Learn From the Apostle Andrew? 

There are many lessons to draw from Andrew, specifically his ability to bring people to Christ, to serve willingly and quickly, and to seek the truth of the gospel.

Be obedient 

Andrew didn’t just go with Christ—he immediately followed him, both when John the Baptist directed Andrew to him and when Jesus called him and Peter to leave their nets and join him. Like many of the disciples, Andrew above all else prioritized Jesus in his life and took his calling to serve seriously.

Seek for truth 

Andrew wanted to be righteous and seek after truth. It was his regular attendance at sermons of John the Baptist that led him to Jesus, and when given the opportunity, Andrew wanted to learn more about him. He also asked Jesus questions, as we saw in Mark 13 when he learns about the destruction of the temple. Andrew sought truth, asked questions, and acted accordingly.

Know & spend time with Jesus Christ 

When the Lord invited Andrew to be with him, Andrew eagerly accepted. Andrew spent that first day with him learning and getting to know the Lord better. He knew of Christ and was humble enough to be taught. After all of the time spent together, Andrew was also more than an apostle: the two of them were friends. Learning of Christ, recognizing him as our Savior, and developing a relationship with him is something that Andrew exemplified.

Bring others to Jesus Christ 

Andrew brought many to Christ through his ministry, including Peter, the more prominent brother who would continue to bring many of God’s children to the gospel of Christ, too. This willingness to share with others is a defining trait of Andrew for many scholars, which gives us some insight into his personality. Andrew consistently and lovingly invited others to know and believe in Jesus Christ. We can take his example of desiring to speak of and share Christ and try to do the same more often.

Participate in miracles

Even though Andrew didn’t perfectly understand how Christ would perform his miracles, and even expressed doubt during the feeding of the 5,000, Andrew acted on the Lord’s instructions and helped find a solution. Not only can Christ perform miracles, but he can take the little we can offer and turn it into something extraordinary. Once again, Andrew’s willing spirit shows us that our own willingness to participate in the Lord’s miracles can build our faith and bring others closer to Christ.

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.

Andrew was a steady, obedient, and dedicated apostle of Christ committed to spreading the gospel and bringing others the truth. Not only was he faithful through and through, but his journey from a local fisherman to one of Christ’s most loyal followers speaks to the power and transformation that comes from discipleship.

If you’d like to learn more about Andrew, his story and his influence, and most importantly, Christ’s ministry on Earth, you can The Chosen completely free. Download the app to start watching episode 1!

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