Andrew is the best disciple. I think we would all agree on that, no need for further evaluation, I mean even the most biblically illiterate of us recognize the name right? We think about all the books of the bible he wrote…(0). Ok, bad example, realistically though not that many disciples wrote books or letters that made it into the Bible, think of all the examples of miracles we see from Andrew…(0). Ok, but the mighty sermons that he preached…(0). The times he talks at all…(2). The times he’s mentioned doing…something…(3). This isn’t going well. Ok, maybe Andrew isn’t the obvious choice for best disciple, I’m willing to admit that. What I think I can convince you of is that Andrew is the sneaky choice for best disciple. Andrew is band that you were listening to before everyone else discovered them, Andrew is the sports team you follow ironically to make it seem like you know something everyone else doesn’t. And here’s the case, you ready? The more obvious answer for greatest disciple is probably Peter, Andrew’s brother. Right? St. Peter, the bishop of Rome, the first Pope, the rock on which Christ will build his church, wrote two books and probably was the source for another, healed people, preached the sermon at Pentecost, had the vision that moved the church to accept non-Jews, Peter is the obvious choice. Andrew brought Peter to Jesus. Without Andrew there is no Peter. Without Andrew none of that happens.
Legacy. Its a consuming concept for people if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ve probably all given some concept to our impact on the world. Its a natural thing for people who are aware from a pretty young age that we are temporal, that we don’t last forever, to try to figure out someway that we might extend our time. Its why people give money to have their names put on buildings, its why we build houses bigger than what we need its why sports teams hang banners and retire jerseys, its all about leaving a legacy.
If you’re aware of Hamilton, the insanely popular Broadway musical about our nation’s first Treasury Secretary you know that legacy is its central theme. The tragic flaw in the life of Hamilton and Aaron Burr (who eventually killed him) is that they’re obsessed with what kind of legacy they’ll leave. Hamilton in particular is presented as someone who is so focused on how he’ll be remembered that he ruins his life. He writes a pamphlet outlining his muti-year affair because he’s afraid he’s going to be accused of laundering money from the US treasury and he ruins the life of his wife and children. Legacy can be a tricky thing. Andrew doesn’t have that impressive of a legacy by most metrics, we’ve already seen that, but because of him great things happened, and there are a couple of things about him that allow him to have that kind of legacy.
The first one is that Andrew let reality break through his expectations. We meet him as one of John’s disciples, which means he’s looking for something. John is out in the wilderness preaching about the flaws in the religious systems of the day and telling people to prepare because God’s about to act. The Messiah is coming. And one day Jesus appears and John says, “there his is, this is the one.” And Andrew immediately goes to Jesus. Its interesting to think, Andrew and Jesus were from the same general area, they both grew up near the Sea of Galilee, Andrew was the son of a fisherman, Jesus the son of a carpenter. Fishermen need boats, carpenters make things out of wood, boats are made out of wood, there’s a chance they know each other. Or of each other. Or at the very least that Andrew would recognize where Jesus was from as the same place he’s from. There’s a tendency in a lot of us to underestimate people from similar backgrounds or locations as us. The newspaper editor in Dayton, Ohio famously refused to print an article about the Wright Brothers’ first flight because “I don’t believe it is meant that man should fly, but I am certain that if one does he will not be from Dayton.” I get that. Nobody from Laurens is becoming President. There’s a second half of that sentence lingering if I’m honest with myself, “no one from Laurens is becoming President, if it isn’t me.” Because its easier to say no one from Laurens will ever be rich or famous or successful than to admit that someone might be all those things because they have something in them I don’t or because they took a risk I wasn’t willing to take. All that to say Andrew could have been dismissive of Jesus. He didn’t look like a Messiah, he didn’t come from the place a Messiah should come from. Don’t get so caught up in your expectations of who God can use and what God can do that you miss when God is doing something right in front of you.
Andrew recognized the importance of insignificant gifts. The other time Andrew speaks, we saw it on screen earlier, is in John 6 when Jesus feeds the 5000. Jesus has been teaching all day, some of the disciples tell him he should probably wrap up soon or the people are going to expect a meal, he tells them to go find the crowd something to eat. The other disciples tell Jesus there’s no way, they can never afford to feed that many, Andrew says “here’s a boy with two fish and five loaves of bread, I don’t know what good that little will do but here it is.” I believe God would do big things through a lot of us if we were willing to say “here’s what I’ve got, I don’t know what good it’ll do but I’m gonna bring it to you any way.” Don’t worry about how insignificant you think the gift or the passion or the idea is, take it to God. I’ve told y’all before, around this time last year I took a car load of canned goods that you all donated to the Baptist Association and when they saw me they called their summer intern, who they had sent to the store because the pantry was empty, to come back. And they told me that someone had come in needing assistance with a power bill that day and they had sent them away because they had used the grant money they get from Duke and they knew they’d need their discretionary money to restock the pantry. And they were able to call that person back and help them keep their lights on because people in this room bought an extra can of corn while they were shopping. And we focused on those canned goods because one of you stopped me in hall between Sunday School and Worship and said “I think if we said each month one thing we were going to collect we’d have more success.” That’s not big idea, but it kept somebody’s lights on last summer. Andrew recognized the power of insignificant gifts, don’t lose sight of them
Last one: Andrew recognized the value of individuals. He brought Peter to Jesus, just one person. He brought the boy with fish and bread to Jesus, just one person. One person matters. None of Peter’s ministry happens without Andrew’s invitation. After the people have eaten in John 6 they start to say “surely the Prophet has come to the world,” they start to recognize that there’s something significant about Jesus and they want to know more, these things happen because Andrew recognizes the value of individuals.
Andrew’s real legacy, I think, is the fact that he sets an example everyone of us can follow. Andrew wasn’t exceptional in any way. Andrew didn’t seem to have any exceptional skills or talents. But Andrew still brought people to Jesus. May we all hope for that kind of Legacy.