Thought for the day – Tuesday


Matthew 4:18-22




I have wondered on a number of occasions how Andrew must have felt. He is named in today’s reading as among the first four of Jesus’ disciples. In John’s Gospel, where Andrew is most frequently mentioned, it is he who goes and finds his brother and introduces him to Jesus (John 1: 40 – 42). Peter, Andrew, James and John were called, together it seems, from being fishermen to being disciples and yet as we read the Gospels it is Peter, James and John who are the ones to accompany Jesus at ‘significant’ times. Andrew is not there.

Did he feel left out, did he bear a grudge, did he sulk or complain or mutter? We have no way of knowing, neither do we know why he wasn’t one of the ‘in-crowd’ (as we might call it).

What we do know is that Andrew was called, that he followed and that he was numbered among the twelve chosen by Jesus to be sent out to witness to him and to prepare people to meet him. Andrew has often been called the first missionary because he went and found his brother and brought him to Jesus. We know little for certain about his life after Pentecost.

He is not mentioned in The Acts of the Apostles and there is no more than legend about what he did! One view is that he went to Greece, and there is some foundation to that, but apart from that we just don’t know. How he died is also a mystery. The tradition of him being crucified on an X-shaped cross did not appear until the tenth century. How he became Patron Saint of Scotland is similarly mysterious, though there is a tradition that his relics were brought to what is now St. Andrew’s in Scotland. He was certainly invoked by the people of Scotland in the 14th century to rescue them from the cruelty and excesses of the English King Edward I and to keep them under his protection for ever!

It seems that Andrew, one of the earliest of Jesus’ followers, was someone who ‘just got on with the job’. He wasn’t famous, he wasn’t a great leader, but he was known by Jesus and remained faithful to him. Andrew was just like us – an ordinary human being. There probably were times when he felt eclipsed by his brother, when he felt left out, but when we do read of him in the Gospels there is no sense of that. He is there with the other disciples getting on with the task in hand. As with Andrew, each one of us is called by our Lord to be with him, to follow him, to learn from him and to do what he calls us to do, whether or not that is in the limelight. As the old hymn says: There’s a work for Jesus only you can do!


Almighty God, who gave such grace to your Apostle Saint Andrew that he readily obeyed the call of your Son Jesus Christ and brought his brother with him: call us by your holy word, and give us grace to follow you without delay and to tell the good news of your kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

(Collect for St. Andrew the Apostle, Common Worship)