SUNDAY 30 November, 2014
LESSONS FROM SAINT ANDREW
November 30 every year has been set aside in the Christian calendar as Saint Andrew’s day. Andrew was one of the early disciples of Jesus Christ. Ordinarily, the word Andrew is a Greek name and means ‘manly’. Like his brother, Simon Peter, Andrew was a fisherman. John’s gospel states that they came from Bethsaida. But at the time of Jesus’ ministry, they made their home in Capernaum where they were in partnership in their fishing business with James and John the sons of Zebedee.
It is interesting to note that Andrew was originally a disciple of John the Baptist (John 1: 38-40). He witnessed Jesus’ baptism and was impressed by John’s declaration that Jesus was the Lamb of God, he decided to meet Him. This meeting convinced him that Jesus was the messiah and he resolved to follow Him. He was not satisfied following Jesus alone, he then brought his brother to Jesus who received him also as His disciple and named him Peter. It is not surprising therefore, that Jesus later called the two brothers permanently into His ministry telling them that He will make them fishers of men.
Bible commentators are of the view that Andrew had a quiet strength of character and a helpfulness on which the others could always rely. At the feeding of the five thousand, it is he who tells Jesus of the boy with five Barley loaves and two fishes (John 6:8-9). Again, it is to Andrew that Philip comes for advice when some Greeks requested a meeting with Jesus (John 12:22).
The church historian Eusebuis records that he preached in Scythia, an area which is now Russian territory between the Black and Caspian Seas. However, later traditions maintain that his body was taken to Constantinople and during the Crusades transferred to Amalfi in Italy.
From the foregoing, we can deduce as believers some of these hard truths. First, he was convinced that Jesus was the messiah and he decided to follow Him. No arguments, no rationalization. The bane of some so-called believers is that they have not fully yielded to Jesus as their messiah. I think by what Andrew did, we should follow suit.
Secondly, Andrew was not selfish. Yes, he met with the Lord first but it pleased him to bring in his own brother into the permanent ministry of the Lord. It is a challenge to some of us who think and live as if heaven is only meant for us. A true believer should ensure that souls daily are brought to the Lord. Afterall, ‘he is wiser he who wins a soul for the Lord’.
Thirdly, he was good in identifying people who could be useful to the Lord. What he did in the case of the little boy with five barley loaves and two fish is highly instructive. Through that singular action, five thousand persons were fed. How often as a church member do we identify people who could be of help to God’s people in His church? Are there not some even if they know people who could be of help may resort to blackmail in order to ensure that one is not brought closer and then become useful to God’s church?
It is also interesting to note that he was a man who gave a sound advice to people. When Philip sought his advice on the issue of linking the Greeks to Jesus, he did not waste time in giving his candid opinion. In fact, it was said that he took them to Christ. We may ask at this point, what type of advice as a Christian man or woman do you give to people around you? Pieces of advice that can make or mar them? It behooves us as people of God to always give a good advice that would not bring sorrow to people at the end.
Therefore, Andrew is been remembered today. When we are gone, how do we wish to be remembered.Ven. Ernest Onuoha Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.