The Catholic Defender: St. Andrew The First Apostle Called By Jesus
St. Andrew was the younger Brother of Simon Peter who was born in Bethsaida of Galilee (John 1:44) and raised in the fishing community. His father, Bar-Jonah, spent his life on the Sea as a fisherman. This was the foundation St. Andrew was raised. His Jewish faith was extremely important to him as evidenced that he first became a follower of St. John the Baptist.
Jesus was baptized by St. John the Baptist ushering in Jesus public Ministry. St. Andrew was present hearing St. John the Baptist say, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, 'After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me.' I myself did not know him; but for this I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel." And John bore witness, "I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God."
St. John the Baptist would state, "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30)
As Jesus was walking a head he noticed St. Andrew and Philip following behind, He asked them, "Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, "What do you seek?" And they said to him, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?" He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his 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, "So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas" (which means Peter ). The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. And he found Philip and said to him, "Follow me." (John 1:38-43)
St. Andrew is always listed in the top four of the Apostles (Matthew 10:2-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:14-16, and Acts 1:13) and he is always close to the events of Jesus. Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew healing their Mother who was sick with fever. Jesus healed many in Capernaum and the surrounding areas.
The Apostles witnessed Jesus cleanse lepers, heal paralytics, change the water into wine at Cana and they began to believe in Jesus (John 2:11). Andrew was one of the Apostles who told Jesus there was a boy that had five barley loaves of bread and a couple of fish. Jesus used this opportunity to feed 5,000 men, not counting women or children. This lead to Jesus giving the very important Bread of Life Discourse (John 6:35-71) that would be the foundation for a new
Covenant (Matthew 26:28).
Andrew and the Apostles would witness Jesus walking on water, the teaching of Jesus in parables, many cures and the casting out of demons. These were signs of Jesus public Ministry, but it was to prepare the Apostles for their missionary work that they would embark.
Everything points to Jerusalem, Jesus whole mission was to go to Jerusalem and as High Priest become the living Sacrifice that saves all who follow Him from sin and death. All roads lead to Jesus through the Catholic Faith.
Mark 13:1-8 states, "And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, "Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!"And Jesus said to him, "Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another, that will not be thrown down." And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately," Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign when these things are all to be accomplished?" And Jesus began to say to them, "Take heed that no one leads you astray.Many will come in my name, saying, 'I am he!' and they will lead many astray. And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places, there will be famines; this is but the beginning of the sufferings."
This prophecy of Jesus was fulfilled in 70 A.D. with the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the animal sacrifice. Jesus is truly the Lamb of God as St. John the Baptist had said, Jesus Passion, Death, and Resurrection changed human history for all time. Jesus established the Catholic Faith and St. Andrew played an important role getting the infant Church off the ground.
Jesus Ascension into Heaven, the Great Commission of Jesus, the election of Matthias, Pentecost, and the Council of Jerusalem prepared the Church to go out into the world with all that Jesus instructed them and empowered them .
According to St. Eusebius, St. Andrew traveled to Scythia establishing churches there, he traveled to the Black Sea and the Dnieper River and reportedly went to Novgorod which is up in modern day Ukraine, Romania, and Russia. In 38 A.D., St. Andrew founded the See of Constantinople placing Stachys the first bishop.
St. Andrew traveled to Thrace, Scythia, and Achaea setting up more churches. Maximillia was the wife of the governor, Aegaeas, converted to the Catholic faith through the teaching of St. Andrew. The governer was not happy with St. Andrew, actually, he wanted to kill him. When being threatened with crucifixion, St. Andrew responded, "Had I feared the death of the cross, I should not have preached the majesty and gloriousness of the cross of Christ."
Finally, after staying at Patras in Achaea converting many people working wondrous signs, when St. Andrew was arrested said, "O beloved cross! I have greatly longed for thee. I rejoice to see thee erected here. I come to thee with a peaceful conscience and with cheerfulness, desiring that I, who am a disciple of Him who hung on the cross, may also be crucified. The nearer I come to the cross, the nearer I come to God; and the farther I am from the cross, the farther I remain from God." and on 30 November, 60 A.D., he was tied to an X shaped cross now known as the "Saint Andrew's Cross".
Not being nailed to this cross, the executioners wanted to prolong St. Andrew's suffering. He lived three days yet, despite his suffering, was able to preach from this cross.
St. Andrew from the cross said, "I thank my Lord Jesus Christ, that He, having used me for a time as an ambassador, now permits me to have this body, that I, through a good confession, may obtain everlasting grace and mercy. Remain steadfast in the word and doctrine which you have received, instructing one another, that you may dwell with God in eternity, and receive the fruit of His promises."
The people pleaded to the governor to save St. Andrew and take him down from the cross, but St. Andrew responded, "O Lord Jesus Christ! suffer not that Thy servant, who hangs here on the tree for Thy name's sake, be released, to dwell again among men; but receive me. O my Lord, my God! whom I have known, whom I have loved, to whom I cling, whom I desire to see, and in whom I am what I am." Just as Jesus had done giving up his spirit on the cross, St. Andrew also committed his spirit into the hands of God.