Andrew, The Lesser-Known Son of Jonah (Part One)

Andrew’s First Journey with Jesus

The Orthodox tradition calls Andrew Protokletos, which means “first-called.”  Andrew was a Jew who lived in Capernaum,*[1] a fishing village off the coast of the Sea of Galilee, though he was a native of Bethsaida.*[2]  A fisherman by trade,*[3] whose father was named “Jonas” or “Jonah,”*[4] Andrew was also religiously-minded.  He was standing on the east coast of the Jordan River with two men, one of whom was John the Baptist (and the other was most likely the future apostle John),* [5] a short time after Jesus returned from His 40-day temptation in the wilderness.*[6]  Being a disciple of John, Andrew was determined to be pleasing to God.  So, when John pointed out that Jesus was “the Lamb of God,” Andrew and John followed Jesus.*[7]

Then Jesus turned and saw them following [Him], and says to them, “What are you seeking?”  They said to Him, “Rabbi (which is to say, being interpreted ‘Master’), where are you staying?”  He says to them, “Come and see.”  They came and saw where he was staying, and stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.*[8]

First, Andrew went and found his brother, Simon,*[9] and told him “We’ve found the Messiah!”  He brought Simon to Jesus, and it is there that Jesus gives Simon the name “Cephas, which is by interpretation, Peter [a stone].”* [10]

Two days later, Andrew accompanied Jesus to a wedding in Cana, a town west of Capernaum.  At this wedding, Jesus miraculously turned water into wine, and as a result, Andrew’s belief in Him was confirmed.*[11]  After that, Andrew accompanied Jesus to Capernaum.  In that short period of time—not even a week—Andrew was in intimate company with men who would go on to become some of the most important men in the history of Christianity: Jesus Himself, Peter (Andrew’s brother), Philip and Nathanael (two of the apostles), James and Jude (brothers of the Lord),*[12] and possibly James and John (sons of Zebedee).*[13]

Andrew accompanied Jesus to Jerusalem for the Passover, and witnessed first-hand Jesus using a whip to drive out all the sheep and oxen from the temple, overthrowing the tables, and dumping out the money that the exchangers had gathered.  He heard Jesus tell the ones who sold doves to take those things out of His Father’s house.*[14]

It was while in Jerusalem with Jesus that Andrew saw Jesus perform miracles,*[15] and also heard the Lord utter something strange: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”  When Jesus rose from the dead after three days, Andrew remembered this saying of Jesus, and his belief was once again strengthened.*[16]

Leaving Jerusalem, Andrew accompanied Jesus into Judea, where they stayed for a while (possibly up to seven months*[17]), baptizing people.*[18]  We aren’t given the names of the individuals who were baptized, but it is possible that this is the time in which Mary, Martha, and Lazarus became disciples of Jesus.  It is also possible that it was during this ministry that Judas Iscariot became a disciple of our Lord.  If this is the case, then it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Andrew himself is the one who baptized some of them, because Jesus didn’t do the baptizing personally.*[19]

Jesus discovered that the Pharisees had heard about His work, making and baptizing more disciples than even John was, He left Judea and went towards Galilee.  But doing that required traveling through Samaria.  Andrew walked with Jesus, and while Jesus stopped at Jacob’s well outside of Sychar because He was worn out from the journey, Andrew and the other disciples went into the city to buy some food.  Coming back to bring Jesus some food, Andrew was shocked, because Jesus was speaking with a Samaritan woman, but he kept his thoughts to himself, as did the other disciples.  After the woman got up and went into the city, Andrew and company urged Jesus to eat.*[20]   It is here that Andrew learned a valuable lesson.

[Jesus] said to them, “I have food to eat that you don’t know of.”  Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has someone brought Him something to eat?”  Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work.  Don’t you say ‘There are yet four months and then comes the harvest?’  Behold, I say to you, ‘Lift up your eyes and look on the fields: for they are white already to harvest.’  And he that reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit into life eternal: that both he that sows and he that reaps may rejoice together.  Herein is that saying true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’  I sent you to reap that upon which you have put no labor: other men labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

By saying this, Jesus was teaching Andrew that He had work for him to do.  He also hinted at something that would take place later—Andrew was going to be an apostle of Jesus Christ.  When Jesus said, “I sent you…” the word He used was the verb form of apostle.  He literally told Andrew, Peter, Philip, Nathanael, and probably James and John, “I apostled you.”

After a couple days in Samaria, they went back to Galilee.  It is apparently at this point that Andrew goes back to his home in Capernaum and resumes his fishing trade with Peter, James, and John.*[21]

-Bradley Cobb

[1] *Mark 1:21 places Jesus in the synagogue at Capernaum.  Verse 29 says that when He left the synagogue, he immediately went to Andrew’s house.  Verse 33 says “all the city” came to the door [of the house].  The only city mentioned in the context is Capernaum.  Jesus, in verse 38, says that He wants to go to “the next towns.”  Mark 2:1 says “He entered into Capernaum…and it was reported that He was in the house.”  The only house mentioned in the book up to this point was Andrew’s house, thus Andrew lived in Capernaum.

[2] *John 1:44 says that Andrew was “of Bethsaida.”

[3] *Mark 1:16

[4] *His brother is called “Simon, son of Jonas [or Jonah]” in John 1:42, therefore, Andrew is also the “son of Jonas [or Jonah].”  Different translations render his father’s name differently.  This name is also very similar to “John.”

[5] *John, in his gospel account, makes no mention of his own name, but refers to himself always as “the disciple” or “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”  If it is not John speaking of himself, it is strange that he would not mention the name of the other disciple who became one of the first followers of Jesus.

[6] *Matthew, Mark, and Luke are all clear that Jesus was taken to the wilderness to be tempted immediately after He was baptized.  Thus, when Jesus came to John the Immerser in John 1:29, and John spoke of what he had already seen at Jesus’ baptism, it must have been after the temptations had ended.  Thus, when Andrew first met Jesus, it was after the temptations.

[7] *This is recorded in John 1:35-37.

[8] *John 1:38-39.

[9] *There’s a bit of difficulty with the word “first” in John 1:41.  Does it mean before going with Jesus, Andrew went and found his brother?  Or does it mean that Andrew was the first of the two disciples to go find their brothers (the other being John, who would have gone and told his brother James).

[10] *John 1:41-42.

[11]* John 2:1-11, especially note verse 11.

[12]* John 1:12.

[13]* If we are correct in identifying the unnamed disciple in John 1:35-40 as John, then he almost certainly would have told his brother, and they would have been among “His disciples” who were called to the wedding (John 2:1-2).

[14] *John 2:13-17.  Verse 17 is the evidence that Andrew (as well as the rest of Jesus’ disciples up to that point) were in attendance.

[15] *John 2:23.

[16] *John 2:19-22.

[17] *McGarvey suggests that this sojourn in Judea could have lasted from April (the time of the Passover) until December, since Jesus states in the next chapter that the harvest was “four months” away.  Fourfold Gospel, page 132.

[18] *John 3:22.

[19] *John 4:2.

[20] *John 4:3-40.

[21] *For the chronology of events in the life of Andrew and the other apostles, we have leaned heavily on the outstanding work of Professor J.W. McGarvey and his chronological harmony of the gospels, The Fourfold Gospel, which he wrote with Philip Y. Pendleton.

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