Tuesday, October 30, 2018


Jesus called to Himself twelve disciples, most of whom we hear so little from that we couldn't even name. But there is one disciple who is conspicuously absent from much of Jesus's testimony, although he speaks occasionally, and this is Andrew. 

Why would we say that Andrew, who we hear real words from, is conspicuously absent any more than, say, Bartholomew or Simon the Zealot, who we hear not at all? Simple - Andrew is one of four called together, two sets of brothers, and yet, he is the only one of these four to not get any further special invite.

Think about it. Jesus calls Peter and Andrew, James and John right off of their fishing boats, and all four men come. But when it comes down to things, it's Peter, James, and John who get to do all the really cool, limited edition, special stuff with Jesus. It's these three who are present with Him on the mountain of the Transfiguration. It's these three who are called with Him to keep watch while He prays. It's these three who speak most often in the Gospels. 

And I can just picture Andrew saying, "But what about me? My brother and these brothers, but not me?" 

Maybe it's because I'm a youngest child and know acutely what it's like to feel like a tag-along, always trying to make a space for myself that just never seems to be there. But that's the impression I get about Andrew. 

Because look at what happens when he does speak - Andrew is the "Disciple of Useless Information." He's the guy who speaks quickly, impetuously just like his brother, Peter, but in scenarios where it just doesn't seem to do a lot of good. When the disciples are asking how they are supposed to feed the thousands when they have no food and little money, it's Andrew who pipes up and says, "There's a little boy here with about five loaves and a couple of small fish." 

Looking at the thousands, it doesn't seem like much. And you can just see the disciples looking sideways at Andrew like, "So? Shut up." After all, how could such a small lunch feed so many persons? 

But still, I wonder sometimes what it must have been like to be a part of this incredible thing, but not, like, a huge part of it the way your brother is. I wonder what it must have been like for Andrew to be there, but then to be excluded - to be called and left behind with the others. 

It's worth noting, too, that we never see Peter sticking up for him. Not once. We never see Peter gleefully tagging along with James and John and saying, "Wait a minute. Andrew needs to come, too. Can't Andrew come, Jesus?" Never.

And we never see Andrew forcing his way, either, even in the way that a little tag-along brother would. We never see him tailing behind, going anyway, crashing the party. He seems content to be with the other seven in some way that we can't quite understand because we just don't know that much about it. 

Still, it's interesting, isn't it? These two brothers who spent their whole life together spend their ministry apart. They made a living in the cramped quarters of a fishing boat, and now, one sees more than the other could even imagine (although we should also say that Andrew probably knew some things Peter couldn't know, by virtue of his having stayed behind) and is constantly running off with this Jesus as part of a special group of three, excluding one who was called with the four. 

There's not really a point to make here. Not today, anyway (hint?). It's just that sometimes, I wonder about Andrew....

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