Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Saint Andrew – The Apostle Day(John 1: 35-42)
V.41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” which means Christ.
The word ‘Apostle’ means “The one who is sent”. It brings to our mind the names of the first 12 disciples of Jesus Christ; of whom St. Andrew was the first to be called, and later came to be known as the patron saint of Scotland, Romania, Greece, and many other European countries. The Scottish church honors him with the name “Protokletos”, which means “the first called”. In memory of Apostle Andrew, every year November 30th is celebrated as St. Andrew’s Day, which is a national holiday in Scotland and across Europe, and celebrate the day as Apostle Day.
The Gospel of St. John states that St. Andrew was first a disciple of John the Baptist, whose testimony first led him, and another unnamed disciple of John the Baptist, to follow Jesus. Apostle Andrew recognized Jesus as the Messiah and introduced his brother Peter to Jesus. Thenceforth, the two brothers were disciples of Christ and they left all things to follow Jesus.
In our gospel text under reference John 1: 35 - 42, we find a seeking incident. During the baptism of Jesus in Jordan, John the Baptist proclaimed Jesus as “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Upon hearing this news again in John 1: 36, Andrew and the other unnamed disciple of John left him to follow Jesus. Jesus asks a pointed question, “What are you looking for?” This was an invitation for these two men to name their intentions and declare a purpose and direction for their actions. The disciples reply to Jesus’ question not with an answer to his question, but by calling him, Rabbi. In this, they proclaim who Jesus is in a relational way. Their assertion follows John’s proclamation that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world with something more personal that sets them in a relationship with the one who will be the Messiah. They indicate a desire to stay with him, presumably to learn what he has to teach them. Jesus’ question “what are you looking for?” is an open-ended invitation to them, and they eagerly jumped at the opportunity.
“Come and See,” Jesus says to the disciples. He invites them to enter into a personal relationship with Him. The same Jesus is inviting us today to come and see what He is. He is the savior of the world, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. We are invited to stay in God’s presence. When Christ turns to us and says “Come and see”, it is an open invitation to us to experience all that God has done for us and all that God has offered to us.
Andrew, who acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah, is now seen in the Gospel as an introducer, bringing others to Jesus. He introduces his brother, Simon Peter, to Jesus(John 1:41). He introduces a small boy with five loaves and two fish to Jesus, leading to the miracle of feeding the five thousand (John 6:9). We also see him introducing the Greeks to Jesus, who wanted to see Him. (John 12:22). We don’t see Andrew preaching or teaching, but we see him doing the most important thing one can do for others; bring others to Christ. In the Gospel, we never see him in the forefront; but always holding a second place. He is always known as the brother of Simon Peter, though he is the one who brought Peter to Jesus. William Barclay has rightly said “Andrew is the patron saint of all who stayed behind the curtain to take the second place”. The church history says that he was instrumental in reaching Gospel in Greece, Asia Minor, and Turkey.
St.Andrew is said to have been martyred by crucifixion at the city of Patras in Achaea in AD 60. It has been said that he has not been nailed but bound to an X-shaped cross, now commonly known as “Saint Andrew’s cross”, supposedly at his own request, as he deemed himself unworthy to be crucified on the same type of cross as Jesus had been crucified. The national flag of Scotland is known as St.Andrew’s flag having the X-shaped cross sign in the middle. He shared Gospel even when he was bound on the cross. Andrew who sought Jesus wanted to stay with Jesus, accepted Jesus as the Messiah and shared the Gospel with different people till his last breath, finally became a martyr for his Master.
In a world where people are power-mongers, vying with each other for positions, relegating others to the back, and competing to stay in the limelight, the role model life of St. Andrew, who preferred to stay behind the curtain, will certainly be a source of inspiration to all of us to take up the cross and follow Jesus, and bring others to the saving grace of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Dear Lord, equip us to equip others. As you led by example, help us too to lead a life of service that will transform this world into a better, humane place. Amen
Thought for the Day
Christian life - a witnessing life
The Mar Thoma Church Staten Island