Gospel Readings about Andrew
- One of the two who heard John the Baptist speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41He first found his brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ 42He brought Simon to Jesus…(John 1.40)
- They said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ 22Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus…(John 12.21)
- Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish….” (John 6.9)
An Unexpected Bridge to Jesus
When I was once at a church in Warrington, I heard a man telling how he’d become a Christian. It was the strangest testimony I’d ever heard. This man had reached a very low point in his life. He was alone, unemployed, and living in a little terraced house on a street in Latchford.
One morning, as he sat in the front room, feeling really fed up, he heard a song in the house. The TV wasn’t on, and neither was the radio. He looked out of the front door onto the street but there was no one there. Somebody with a very merry heart was singing about Jesus. The more he listened, the more it seemed to warm his own heart, and the more he wanted to know. He never found out where that song was coming from, but it had planted a seed in his heart which grew to full faith.
Years later, somebody else realised it had been a Christian builder, on the roof; an Andrew, who in utter simplicity built a bridge in a time of need.
Andrew, a Bridge to Jesus
Andrew, the fisherman, Simon Peter’s brother, is a very small character in the gospel accounts, but a small character who made a huge difference. As we look at the readings appointed for St. Andrew’s day, we see a very special kind of simplicity. Andrew is a teller and bringer.
- As he experienced the love and power of Jesus he reaches out to bring his brother to know the Messiah.
- In John 12, when a group of Greek visitors to Jerusalem express a desire to meet Jesus, it’s Andrew who makes the introduction.
- When the crowds are seeking food, it’s Andrew who makes the ridiculous suggestion that turns out to be exactly what Jesus wanted.
Thomas Bilney – the Unknown Bridge for those who became Great
In the 1500s there was a amazing revival of spiritual life. The names of many great writers and preachers emerged at this time: William Tyndale, Erasmus, Thomas Cranmer, and Thomas More… but whoever heard of Tom Bilney?
Something wonderful happened in his heart around 1519, and Thomas could not stop talking about the gracious work the Lord had done in him. He attended a lecture by the learned theologian Fr. Hugh Latimer, and afterwards asked if the priest would hear his confession. Tom confessed, and told his story. Latimer later confessed that that conversation was the turning point in his spiritual life!
Over a period of time Tom also met with Rev. Dr. Robert Barnes, the prior of an Augustinian Friary. Barnes too, received guidance and inspiration from this gentle encourager. Both Latimer and Barnes would later become leaders in the sixteenth century revival.
Thomas, like Andrew was kind bridge builder. Unsung, but mighty in the outworking of God’s plans!
The Holy Ghost, Building Bridges inside Me
When I was 16, I struggled reading the Bible, and, looking for help, bought a New English Bible. Sometimes the NEB reduced what it saw as some less important passages to small print. But I soon realised, everything in the Bible was totally relevant! In Bilney’s day, the revival spoke of the Christocentricity of Scripture – Jesus, and His message can be found in every bit of the Bible!
Our readings for today, could have been dismissed as unnecessary detail. Compared to the ministries of Peter, John and Paul, Andrew’s works may be seen as insignificant, but the Holy Ghost ensured that those details came through – He wants you and me to learn from these crumbs of biography; He wants to equip you and me to be an Andrew!
Collect for the Feast of St. Andrew
Almighty God, who gave such grace to your apostle Andrew that he readily obeyed the call of your Son Jesus Christ and brought his brother with him: call us by your holy word, and give us grace to follow you without delay and to tell the good news of your kingdom;
Through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.