-The First Disciple-
In A.D. 36, among those who were impressed by John The Baptist, who had stirred the country of Palestine with the preaching of repentance, was a young Jewish fisherman from Galilee, named Andrew. Andrew means 'manly'. He was physically strong and a devout, faithful man.
He obviously was discontented with the formal traditions of the priests. He definitely had a desire for a deeper spiritual closeness with God, His Creator.
Andrew and his brother Simon Peter, were fishermen from Bethsaida who also lived in Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee. They both earned their living by fishing in the Sea of Galilee.
The Sea of Galilee was a freshwater Lake and fish were plentiful. Several fishermen worked along the shores and made a good living trading their catch of the day at the town of Capernaum. Capernaum was a key trade position, because of the public roads that ran through the port. This strategic location expounded economic development, especially the wealthy fishing industry.
Although Jewish men were not seagoing people, the practise of catching fish was an important industry and a source of considerable income. It was hard work, lines, dragnets and hooks were used, but the most common were nets, either hand thrown in shallow waters from the shore or from boats.
Andrew, as a fisherman did not have trouble in selling large quantities of fish for it was a favourite source of food in Palestine and most fisherman were wealthy. Owning a boat was an additional luxury that came with his chosen lifestyle.
Andrew had become a follower and disciple of John The Baptist and saw Jesus approach John for baptism. When Jesus was identified as The Lamb of God by John, Andrew immediately was interested Jesus.
The day after Jesus' baptism, Andrew spent the whole day with Jesus near Bethany and being convinced Jesus was The Messiah, he went and found his brother Simon Peter and brought him to Jesus also.
Andrew is known for sharing his faith with others because of this action. Besides the shepherds and the prophetess Anna, Andrew was next to tell another about Christ.
Andrew was the first disciple and apostle to be called by Jesus. Jesus saw Andrew and Simon Peter fishing with their partners, James and John, who had also previously met Jesus and called to them to follow Him.
Andrew did not hesitate to leave his abundant income to follow Jesus when it was required of him to do so. Jesus called Andrew to be a 'fisher of men' when he was on the northern shore of The Lake of Galilee at the beginning of His earthly ministry. Several of Jesus' disciples were fishermen by trade.
Andrew was the first to call another to be a disciple of Christ. He was uniquely appointed as one of the founding pillars of the Christian Church. He had physically left his personal life behind him to become a spiritual leader.
Jesus selected Andrew and other disciples to carry on His mission as a result of all night prayer. Andrew lovingly obeyed Jesus, His Lord and Master, learning from Him, trusting Him and imitating Him. He was sent by Jesus with his brother on practical experience missions of healing the sick and the casting out of demons. Andrew ministered with his brother Simon Peter as a team during Jesus' ministry.
Andrew was on the edge of the inner circle of Peter, James and John and occasionally was called into this group.
At the feeding of the 5,000 men, the figure not including women and children, it was Andrew who drew Jesus' attention to the boy with the 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. He was always prompt to help. As a chosen disciple of Christ, Andrew learnt from his master to serve Him and others.
Training as a disciple and apostle meant special teaching and testing. Andrew willingly became a committed disciple and undertook all the spiritual discipline needed. He had to learn to do what was good and love others. The purpose of Andrew's chosen role was to teach others to become Christlike.
Andrew questioned Jesus privately concerning the destruction of the Temple and Jesus prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem. When Jesus spoke of The end of Jerusalem, he also was speaking about the end of the age for humankind as it is now known for Jesus told of His glorious return and how the angels would gather together all His elect disciples to be with him forever.
Andrew later requested Jesus for an audience on behalf of certain Greeks, but Jesus replied if that they are to be disciples they must follow Him as Andrew had.
As Jesus' intimate companion and confidante he was promised authority at the final judgement.
Andrew learnt that total surrender to God was required of him and Jesus had to have first priority before all else, before himself and before his family, relatives and friends.
Andrew was with the other ten when they were first told that Jesus had risen from the dead and who did not believe the message.
After the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus he was one of the disciples who selected another disciple by lot to take Judas Iscariot's place. Andrew received the power and baptism of The Holy Spirit on Pentecost Day along with other disciples and preached in Jerusalem.
Andrew enjoyed the benefits of discipleship being joy, peace, happiness and hope; he knew the happiness that only comes from doing God's will. He preached primarily in Macedonia, north of Greece, but his field of labour for Christ was Scythia, Southern Russia, the region north of the Black Sea. Scythian power was dominant in the area north-west of the Black Sea. The new invaders, the Sarmatians, destroyed the remaining Scythian remnants after A.D. 100.
Andrew found out that discipleship was constant and included persecution. The cost of his choice to follow Jesus included a willingness to suffer and die for the sake of His Master.
Andrew was a servant of God, active in the world but distinct from it.
According to tradition, Andrew was martyred at Patrae in Achaia, by crucifixion on an X-shaped cross.
There was a gospel written called The Acts of Andrew which chronicled his evangelism to many foreign countries and the working of extraordinary miracles.
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