The First Annual Andrew Challenge

We don’t hear a lot about Andrew in Scripture. But, he was important.

       John 1: 40-42 “One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his own brother, Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon, the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

We don’t hear a lot about Andrew in Scripture. He isn’t a “son of thunder” he doesn’t seem to have his brother’s “gift of gab,” he isn’t one of the closest three or “inner circle,” nor does he betray our Lord. While we know more about James, John, Judas, Peter, and even Phillip, Andrew was important. Even if Andrew had done nothing else in his ministry, which we know he did, there was something incredibly impactful accomplished in John 1:40-42. He shared the Gospel, as revealed so far, to his brother. This was no simple family interaction but would help change the course of history.

Declaring “We have found the Messiah” was a bold statement for Andrew. The Jewish people were looking for someone foretold by Scriptures, a miracle worker, and a king. By his statement, Andrew was declaring his own allegiance to that promised king. This is whom Andrew was now following, and he was convinced that others should follow him, as well; so he started with his brother.

Later, Jesus would ask his disciples, “Whom do you say I am?” and the response came from Andrew’s brother. Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16) At that point, he recognized that not only was Jesus King, but when a Jewish person used “son” they meant of the same kind. Peter knew Jesus wasn’t just a man, but was something far more. He would worship him, as God in human flesh. As much as we remember Peter’s declaration and his activity in the book of Acts, it started with an invite.

While God knows what would have happened had Andrew not brought Peter to Jesus, we don’t. Andrew probably didn’t understand the impact it would have on his own life, or his brother’s life. While God wasn’t surprised by Peter’s journey of faith, it did involve a declaration and an invitation from a family member. Unless God had given Andrew some gift of prophecy in that moment that Scripture doesn’t speak of, Andrew couldn’t have known in advance how his brother would respond. We can see that elsewhere Peter spoke bluntly and quickly. We remember him for his strong will. If I were to talk to a person with Peter’s personality, I might fear he would respond with bold denial, rather than with curiosity. We can’t know how Andrew felt, but his allegiance to Jesus, his conviction that Jesus was the promised Messiah, compelled him.

There are more spotlights on men like Peter in the world than on men like Andrew, but we wouldn’t have the Peters without the Andrews. All Christians are called to make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20) but not all of us are called to do what Peter did as a pastor, church planter, missionary and miracle worker. I pray that in 2022 you will find a deeper passion to see others connected to Jesus, and I encourage you to start with the simple steps that takes.

In 2022, I’d like to ask you to take an Andrew-inspired annual challenge. I want you to pray and ask God to show you one person in your life who isn’t following Jesus. I want you to pray for them until either the year ends, Jesus comes back, they get saved, or they leave this life. I would encourage you to pray for opportunities to tell them “We have found the Messiah” and to introduce them to Jesus. Love on them, take them out to lunch, or have them over to your house for dinner, board games, a movie, or whatever.

As you know, we talk about “Organic Outreach” here — intentionally, but organically, in the relationships we have and build, sharing the gospel and telling people about Jesus. I’ve seen some folks bring in friends this past year, and it makes me happy every time. I know God sees those invites, as well as all those invites that were declined. I know it reflects a heart of love for other people. I pray that God grows that love even more this year, as we face a new era where there isn’t really a status quo in the same way as we had before the pandemic, and the government restrictions and so many rules, events, and more are in flux. I pray that God will help us to see each opportunity we have in that kind of setting, and that we can be empowered to use it for His glory.

I’m praying over my selection, and it’s hard to narrow it down! I’ll pray about multiple individuals on my prayer list, but I want to pick one for more committed serious prayer and focus. I’m happy to be used as God’s shotgun, but sometimes it takes something precise and focused to make an impact. As I think about my top candidates, they are dads, and I can’t help but marvel at the potential impact on their children if they get on fire for Jesus. I also wonder if Heather and I can pray about members of a marriage or couple together and what kind of impact that would hold.

When you have picked somebody, let me know. While we can each focus on being our own Andrew to our own Peter, we can occasionally pray for one another. And when God does something in their life, we can celebrate, together.