#2 (The 12 Disciples Series)
"ANDREW -- THE HELPER!"
TEXTS: John 1:29-42; 6:1-15; 12:20-22; Matt. 4:18-19
INTRO: When the term "GREAT MINISTRY" is used it conjures up many pictures – great teachers, great preachers, Mother Teresa, Billy Graham, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, etc. Yet, the vast majority of “great ministry” in God's Kingdom has been done by much less well known saints over the centuries ... the “ANDREWS” of the ages!
Andrew was not as much an up-front person as much as he was a middle man ... helping to bring together issues and people. He didn't so much teach others by mouth as much as he brought people to Jesus for Jesus to teach them. Andrew was the guy who was looking for bridges or making them ... the Church of Jesus Christ needs “Andrews!”
ILLUS: THE GREAT MUSICIAN LEONARD BERNSTEIN WAS ONCE ASKED WHICH INSTRUMENT WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT TO PLAY. HE THOUGHT FOR A MINUTE AND THEN REPLIED, “THE SECOND FIDDLE! I CAN GET PLENTY OF FIRST VIOLINISTS, BUT TO FIND SOMEONE WHO CAN PLAY THE SECOND FIDDLE WITH ENTHUSIASM -- THAT'S A PROBLEM. AND IF WE HAVE NO SECOND FIDDLE, WE HAVE NO HARMONY!” -- Source Unknown
Andrew was much loved by Jesus, he was the first disciple Jesus called, and he was responsible for bringing his brother Peter to Jesus! Though Andrew is the first disciple called it is Peter that gets much fame while Andrew seems to forever stay in the background. Peter is credited with great things while Andrew's accomplishments are hardly ever mentioned! Without Andrew bringing Peter to Jesus, Peter might not have become a disciple! It is the “Andrews” of this world that are the backbone of the Church!
ILLUS: MANY YEARS
AGO A HUMBLE PASTOR WHOSE NAME FEW KNOW SERVED A LITTLE CHURCH IN A LITTLE
PROP. SENT: For God's work to go forward there must be many “Andrews” around! God puts a premium on those who are servants!
I. FOLLOWER TO LEADER Jn. 1:29-42 Matt. 4:18-19
A. Student 1:29-39
1. When we are first introduced to Andrew we find him a student of John the Baptist!
a. Already Andrew is a follower, of John the Baptist.
b. It was John the Baptist that pointed out Jesus to Andrew and told him that Jesus was the Lamb of God who had been promised to take away sin!
c. Thus Andrew moves to the next step in his search for God ... he leaves John and begins to follow Jesus!
2. While Andrew was learning about God from John, Peter was still fishing!
a. While Andrew had searched for answers, Peter had searched for fish!
b. Once Andrew had the answer he goes and seeks out his brother Peter to share the good news!
3. Having proved himself a good follower made him one of Jesus' first choices to be a disciple – good followers make good leaders!
a. One quality of a good follower is devotion, Andrew was not wishy-washy, when following John he did so completely; when Jesus was pointed out he left John and followed Jesus with the same kind of steadfast devotion.
b. Jesus must have been moved by his example of commitment, when Andrew knew the truth he moved on it!
B. Selfless 1:40-42
1. Rather than glory in the fact that Andrew was one of the first men Jesus called, and perhaps reminding his brother and the others of this later, Andrew seems happy to just be on board with the other disciples, position didn't matter with him!
a. The very first thing he does is go find his brother in order to share the joy of his discovery and call!
b. Andrew as a brother sure was different than the pair of brothers we are first introduced to in the Bible, Cain and Abel!
(1. Abel's favor by God provoked an angry jealousy in Cain, who then killed his brother Abel!
(2. How unlike them Andrew and Peter were, Andrew's favor by Jesus inspires him to go and find his brother to share it! Peter was the first thing Andrew thought of, not himself!
c. Andrew's desire to put Peter first rather than bask in the limelight of being one of the first disciples chosen shows the unselfish nature he possessed!
2. In this regard Andrew really becomes the very first missionary in the New Testament; he is the first to go for Jesus and make disciples!
a. He could have thought to himself, "We'll if I get Peter to join, he better know that I was here first, Jesus picked me first!"
b. Later however when Peter emerged as one of the 3 inner circle disciples, which Andrew does not get into, Andrew is never shown to be jealous or upset. All Andrew cared about was serving no matter the prestige he himself received – what a great leader he was, what a great heart!
c. His selfless, serving attitude reflected the greatness of character that honors God even when it never makes you into a household name!
II. FAITH'S LOOKOUT! Jn. 6:1-15
A. Situation 6:1-7
1. Our next clear glimpse of Andrew comes at a very famous event, Jesus feeding the 5,000!
a. Jesus had preached quite long (and He was perfect!) and the people had traveled a great distance over rough territory ... the hour was late!
b. Jesus decided to feed the entire crowd and so asked Philip a question that had a ready answer to it ... "IMPOSSIBLE!"
c. Jesus asks Philip: "Where can we buy bread for all these people?"
d. It seems Philip and Andrew had become friends. (They are together in the next story too) Philip, who is the practical one in the group gives the practical answer, "Eight months' wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!" 6:7
2. In other words, it was simply IMPOSSIBLE!
a. At this point Andrew jumps into the picture doing what he had done before – FINDING SOMEONE TO BRING TO JESUS! In this case Andrew finds a small boy with a basket lunch!
b. Andrew finds a partial solution, but recognizes the inadequacy of such a discovery by saying, "but how far will this go among so many?" 6:9b
3. At least Andrew had enough faith to look for some answer, though he finds a very inadequate solution!
a. The poor little boy, everyone was talking about taking his whole lunch! Had anyone asked him if it was o.k.?
b. Perhaps the real hero in this story is the little boy! He evidently is the only one who doesn't protest, with childlike faith he just gives what he has believing Jesus can make it be enough!
c. Again, Andrew finds the boy but it really is the boy that emerges as the hero, not Andrew! But, once again Andrew is the guy in the backdrop acting as the middle man.
B. Solution? 6:8-15
1. Andrew was used to find the solution though he couldn't see how this was going to work!
2. Philip offered no solution, Andrew found a small beginning that would prove to be enough in the hands of Jesus.
3. It was an “Andrew” that was always looking to bring to Jesus something or some one! Jesus would use what Andrew had brought!
a. Jesus has the people sit while He takes the boy's 5 loaves and 2 fish and blesses them, and asks His disciples to begin passing the food out thus serving the people!
b. There is a good point here, Jesus asks his board members to give out the little they had taken in and believe that if used for ministry it will be multiplied to meet the entire need! (A good lesson for Church boards and pastors today still!)
(1. There will always be “Philips” who will say, “but we don't have it.”
(2. And there will hopefully be “Andrews” who will say, “We have something, its small, but…”
4. Not only was there enough, there were leftovers! And Jesus commanded His disciples to pick up the excess so that nothing was wasted! 6:12
a. Ironically, the leftovers were exactly 12 basketfuls; does that number ring a bell?
b. Jesus wanted them to carry a reminder the next day of God's supply, so each disciple had a visual reminder what God can do when someone like Andrew is willing to bring a little boy and witness what Jesus can do with the gift of a little boy given by faith!
c. Thank God Andrew found a boy with something, and brought him to Jesus!
5. Andrew sought out an answer, even if it seemed very inadequate at first!
6. God give us men and women like Andrew who when faced with the impossible at least look for a solution rather than complain like Philip that there was no possible way!
a. Real faith finds expression, even if only in a small way!
b. Faith not only believes – it acts!
ILLUS: IT WAS A BRIGHT SUNNY DAY YEARS AGO AND A LARGE CROWD HAD GATHERED AT NIAGARA FALLS TO SEE THE FAMOUS TIGHTROPE WALKER BLONDIN WALK OVER THE FALLS ON A TIGHTROPE. THE WORLD'S GREATEST TIGHTROPE WALKER BRIEFLY TESTED THE ROPE FOR TAUTNESS, AND THEN TOOK A LONG POLE AND BALANCING HIMSELF HE STARTED ACROSS. THE CROWD FOLLOWED EVERY MOVEMENT TENSELY. STEP BY STEP HE WENT; SHARP MOVEMENT CREATED A SIMILAR ONE AMONG THE CROWD! BLONDIN NOT ONLY WENT ACROSS, HE CAME BACK AGAIN ... TO THE APPLAUSE OF THOSE ON SHORE. THEN TURNING TO THE AUDIENCE HE MADE A SENSATIONAL OFFER ... HE WOULD CROSS THE FALLS AGAIN, THIS TIME HOWEVER, WITH SOMEONE ON HIS BACK. WHO WAS WILLING TO GO? NO ONE RUSHED FORWARD TO VOLUNTEER HOWEVER, SO BLONDIN PICKED A MAN OUT OF THE AUDIENCE AND ASKED, "DO YOU BELIEVE THAT I AM ABLE TO CARRY YOU ACROSS?" THE MAN RESPONDED, "YES!" "WELL THEN LET'S GO" SAID BLONDIN. THE MAN HOWEVER RESPONDED, "NOT ON YOUR LIFE!" HE ASKED MANY IF THEY BELIEVED HE COULD DO IT, EVERYONE SAID YES, BUT THEY WOULDN'T VOLUNTEER. FINALLY ONE YOUNG MAN IN THE CROWD SAID THAT HE BELIEVED AND TO PROVE IT HE CLIMBED ON BLONDIN'S BACK AND OFF THEY WENT ... AND VERY SUCCESSFULLY TO THE THRILL OF THE CROWD! WHILE THE WHOLE CROWD BELIEVED BLONDIN COULD CARRY THEM SAFELY OVER THE FALLS, ONLY ONE MAN ACTUALLY MADE IT OVER. HIS FAITH WAS REWARDED BECAUSE HE ACTED UPON IT! THIS IS TRUE WITH FAITH IN CHRIST ALSO! -- SOURCE UNKNOWN
III. FACILITATING LINKS Jn. 12:20-22
A. Sensitive 12:20-22
1. Here we find Andrew and Philip at the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry.
a. Philip still seems to be Philip the practical one, several Greek worshippers of God request to see Jesus, Philip seems unsure of what to do since after all, these are not Jewish men, so he goes and talks to Andrew about the issue ... what should he do?
b. They probably approached Philip because "Philip" was a Greek name, and they are Greeks.
c. Still, a thorny issue is here, these were Greeks who rejected Judaism, should they be allowed to see the busy Jesus? Andrew would know what to do!
2. Interestingly enough, Andrew is still Andrew! He doesn't go to Jesus with the problem; at least not by himself – he brings Philip to Jesus with the issue!
a. Here is Andrew doing again what he always did best – he brings people to Jesus!
b. Andrew is sensitive to not reject outright the Greeks who wanted to see Jesus!
3. Judging by the statement Jesus gives in 12:32 it quite possibly indicates the presence of gentile Greeks as Jesus spoke here – thus Andrew must have gone and got these Greeks and brought them to Jesus, exactly what we would expect from an Andrew!
a. Andrew's ministry was always one of being in the gap, going for Jesus, and bringing people to Him!
b. He doesn't fill the role that his more famous brother Peter did – that of a great teacher and leader, he just was a people person bringing others to Jesus!
c. He shows no jealously at any point toward his more famous brother, though overshadowed by him – even though Peter came in after him!
4. What a great disciple Andrew was, Jesus called a “people person” before calling great teachers!
a. Andrew was the kind of follower that was obedient even when he couldn't always understand what was going on, he continued to be faithful!
b. This is a mark of great leaders, faithful even when stumped!
ILLUS: A CERTAIN KING NEEDED A FAITHFUL SERVANT AND HAD TO CHOOSE BETWEEN TWO MEN IN HIS COURT. HE DECIDED ON A PLAN TO FIND OUT WHICH ONE WOULD BE THE BEST SERVANT TO FILL THE OFFICE. HE HIRED BOTH MEN AT THE SAME WAGE TO GO OUT AND DRAW WATER FROM THIS WELL TO POUR INTO A WICKER BASKET! HE TOLD THEM HE WOULD RETURN THAT NIGHT TO SEE HOW THEY WERE DOING. AFTER DUMPING A COUPLE OF BUCKETS OF WATER INTO THIS WICKER BASKET THE ONE SERVANT SAID THE OBVIOUS, "THIS IS CRAZY, WE POUR WATER INTO THIS BASKET THAT SIMPLY CAN'T HOLD WATER AND THIS IS A WASTE OF TIME AND ENERGY! THE WATER JUST RUNS THROUGH THE SIDES OF THE BASKET!" THE OTHER SERVANT HOWEVER KEPT UP THE USELESS JOB OF DRAWING WATER FROM THE WELL AND KEPT POURING IT INTO THE BASKET ONLY TO HAVE IT DRAIN OUT AND AWAY! THE DISGUSTED SERVANT FINALLY ASKED HIM, "ARE YOU REALLY GOING TO KEEP THIS UP?" THE OTHER SERVANT RESPONDED, "YES, WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE TO YOU, WE ARE DRAWING GOOD WAGES FOR THIS JOB ... THE USE OF DOING THIS IS THE MASTER'S BUSINESS NOT OURS!" THE OTHER ONE RESPONDED BACK, "I'M NOT GOING TO DO SUCH FOOL'S WORK" AND SO THROWING DOWN HIS BUCKET HE LEFT. THE OTHER MAN CONTINUED THE USELESS JOB UNTIL NIGHTFALL WHEN THE MASTER FINALLY RETURNED. JUST AS THE MASTER WAS COMING HE DREW A BUCKET OF WATER UP, ONE OF THE LAST BUCKETS OF WATER LEFT IN THE SHALLOW WELL AND AS HE STARTED BRINGING IT UP HE NOTICED SOMETHING SHINING IN THE BOTTOM OF THE WELL ... IT PROVED TO BE A HUGE DIAMOND RING! SUDDENLY IT DAWNED ON HIM WHY THE MASTER HAD THIS SEEMINGLY USELESS JOB FOR HIM ... IF THE RING HAD COME UP IN A BUCKET LOAD, THE WICKER BASKET WOULD HAVE ALLOWED THE WATER TO SEEP AWAY REVEALING THE RING, AND IF IT DIDN'T COME UP, THE WELL WOULD SOON ENOUGH BE EMPTIED BY THE CONSTANT DRAWING AND REVEAL THE TREASURE ANYWAY! THE WORK WAS NOT USELESS AT ALL! HIS FAITHFULNESS TO CONTINUE SERVING THOUGH HIS WORK SEEMED SILLY WAS GREATLY REWARDED BY THE MASTER WHO GAVE HIM A PLACE OF HONOR AS WELL AS GOOD WAGES! THE OTHER MAN LOST EVERYTHING! -- SOURCE UNKNOWN
1. Guess what the name "ANDREW" means? When translated literally it means, "MANLY!"
a. Andrew is no wimp! A guy who knows how to bring people to Jesus is no sissy, he is a man!
b. In Proverbs it says, "the man who wins souls is wise!"
c. Andrew is the unrecognized strength of the disciples!
2. While not always out in front, he is the cement of the group, bridging the gap between Jesus and others!
3. God give us “ANDREWS” in the Church! We need those who don't see how impossible something is but can find a way to Jesus!
a. Somebody has to go and beat a path to the Lord, if there is no path then they will make one!
b. God give us “Andrews” who are looking to bring people to Jesus!
ILLUS: ONCE THE FAME OF DAVID LIVINGSTONE BRINGING PEOPLE TO JESUS IN AFRICA REACHED THE REST OF THE WESTERN WORLD OTHERS WANTED TO WORK FOR JESUS ALSO. ONE MISSIONARY SOCIETY WROTE TO DAVID LIVINGSTONE WITH THE FOLLOWING CABLE, "HAVE YOU FOUND A GOOD ROAD TO WHERE YOU ARE – IF SO, WE WANT TO SEND OTHER MEN TO JOIN YOU." THEY WERE QUITE JOLTED HOWEVER BY THE RESPONSE THEY GOT FROM DR. LIVINGSTONE! HIS RESPONSE WAS, "IF YOU HAVE MEN WHO WILL COME ONLY IF THEY KNOW THERE IS A GOOD ROAD I DON'T WANT THEM! I WANT MEN WHO WILL COME IF THERE IS NO ROAD AT ALL!" -- SOURCE UNKNOWN
4. It takes a real man (or woman!) to serve Christ, sissies can’t make it! God make us to be like Andrew who was always willing to bring someone to Jesus, no matter what is going on at the moment!
5. Andrew certainly wasn't the most popular disciple of Jesus, nor the most up front as a teacher, he didn't make the inner circle with Jesus like Peter did – but there would have been no Peter without Andrew – and it was Andrew who pops up again and again solving the problem of people who needed Jesus by simply bringing them to Him! THE CHURCH NEEDS “ANDREWS!” – Will you be one?
CONCLUSION: Andrew's gift was that of a "middle man!" or “second fiddle.” He was the helper in the group, acting as a bridge. He connected his brother Peter to Jesus, and then stayed in the backdrop while Peter grew more prominent than he. He brought people to Jesus; while the others taught by word he taught by example. The Church still needs middle men – those who can speak by action and not just words, those who know how to lead others to Jesus Christ! Are you an “Andrew?”