Overshadowed by his younger brother Peter, the Apostle Andrew nonetheless distinguished himself as a wide-ranging evangelist who spread the Gospel in numerous nations.
The Revs. Terry Pugh, Michael McGuire and Erik Stadler say Andrew is most noted in the New Testament as “the first called” who recognized that Jesus was the Messiah and brought Peter to meet him.
“He is a unique guy,” said the Rev. Pugh, pastor of the First United Pentecostal Church. “Of all the disciples, he was the best evangelist, recruiting people and bringing them to come to Jesus. He brought his brother and then a group of Gentiles who wanted to see Jesus.
“There was something about Andrew that made him approachable. When strangers looked at the whole group of disciples, he was the one they felt safest with.”
Pugh said Andrew’s role “was one that a high percentage of people fall into.
“He was pretty much a background guy,” he said. “He led people to Jesus but didn’t do it in a way that drew a lot of attention.”
Scholars believe Andrew was crucified in 60 A.D. between the ages of 50 and 55 in Patras in western Greece after evangelizing in Georgia, Cyprus, Malta, Romania, Ukraine, Scotland, Spain and Greece. Peter was crucified between 64 and 68 A.D. in Rome. The brothers were natives of Bethsaida on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee.
The Rev. McGuire, pastor of Crescent Park Baptist Church, said Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist who saw John recognize Jesus and say in the Gospel of John 1:29, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
“I think he was interested in seeing Peter get saved because the first thing he did was bring his brother to Jesus,” McGuire said. “Billy Graham used a strategy called Operation Andrew for his workers to do what Andrew did, go find others and tell them about the Lord.
“He recognized Jesus so quickly because he was with John the Baptist and he knew that John had been sent to prepare the way. When people truly get saved, they’re excited about sharing the kingdom. They want to spread the Gospel.”
McGuire said Peter, James and John were Jesus’s inner circle and there is not much concerning Andrew in the New Testament. “For me, the biggest thing was his concern to get his family saved and make sure they knew the truth,” he said.
“We as Christians should have the same enthusiasm he did and pray for our families and friends, leading them to the Lord.”
Citing John 6:1-14, the Rev. Stadler noted that Andrew is mentioned with the Apostle Philip in the story of Jesus’s feeding 5,000 people on “the far shore of the Sea of Galilee,” where Andrew asked, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
“He was willing to be in the shadow of his brother, who had also been a disciple of John the Baptist and did some great things but really put his foot in his mouth at times,” said Stadler, pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church. “I try not to guess too much outside Scripture, but maybe Andrew was more the quiet brother.
“We all have ways of serving. Some rise to fame while others serve more quietly. Peter put his foot in his mouth a lot, so maybe Andrew learned from him to keep quiet. I would put him as a quiet server.”