The Power Of One

Essential 100—Read:
John 1:1-51

“One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah.’ And he brought him to Jesus.” ~John 1:40-42

The disciple Andrew inspires us with a crystal clear, very simple, non-threatening, doable example of how we can be active in reaching lost people. When you read the few passages in the New Testament about Andrew, like this one in John 1, there are a couple of really encouraging things that stand out:

First, Andrew shows that you don’t have to have any special skills to introduce people to Christ. Andrew just simply brought people to Jesus.

In reality, even though he was the first disciple Jesus enlisted, and even though he was the first to recognize Jesus as the Messiah, Andrew never achieved the fame that his brother Peter did. Jesus’ never included Andrew in his inner circle, like Peter. Andrew wasn’t there at the Transfiguration, like Peter. Andrew wasn’t there when Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gesthemane, like Peter. Andrew never preached like Peter, never wrote a gospel like John, was never recognized by the early church as a leader like James.

Peter’s name appears close to 200 times in the New Testament, ninety-six times in the four gospels—only Jesus is mentioned more often. We find Andrew in only eleven different places, ten of them in the Gospels—mostly grouped together with the other disciples; five as “Peter’s brother.” Only three times do these passages tell us any details about Andrew—and even that is minimal.

Someone once asked a conductor what the most difficult instrument to play in the orchestra was. He said, “second fiddle”. That was Andrew! Yet beneath everybody’s radar, Andrew was being used in the most powerful way of all—to bring people to Christ.

Andrew not only brought Peter to Jesus, but in John 6:8, we find it was Andrew who brought the boy with the loaves and fish to Jesus, and then one of the outstanding miracles of the Bible took place: The feeding of the 5,000 with five loaves and two fish. On account of Andrew, we have a story preserved that has helped millions to understand that Jesus is the true and only Bread of Life.

Then in John 12:20, some Greeks came to Philip and said, “we want to see Jesus.” Philip took them to Andrew, and what did Andrew do? He hooked them up with Jesus. Andrew became both the first home missionary—when he led Peter to Christ, and the first foreign missionary—when he led these Gentiles to Jesus.

In Andrew you don’t see any special skills or an incredibly charismatic personality, or an extremely articulate speaker. You just see a guy who was faithful, available, and useful. He just kept bringing everybody who got near him to Jesus.

Tradition tells us that Andrew kept on introducing people to Jesus for the rest of his life. He was finally put to death at a ripe old age in Greece. His death came after he befriended Maximilla, the wife of the Roman proconsul Aegeas, and led her to faith in Christ. Aegeas became so enraged over this that he ordered Andrew to offer sacrifices to a heathen god. When Andrew refused, he was severely beaten, tied to a cross, and crucified. That cross, shaped like an X is today called St. Andrew’s cross.

It is said that he lingered for two whole days before dying, but the whole painful time, he preached the Gospel to everyone who came by. Andrew never stopped introducing people to Jesus, even to his last breath.

And the second thing we can learn from Andrew is the power of one. Andrew brought Simon to Jesus, and Jesus transformed him into Peter, a rock—and you know the rest of the story.

We really don’t understand the power of one life simply being available, faithful and useful to God, and letting God do the rest!

Edward Kimball was a Sunday school teacher. He won a young man to the Lord when he was a Boston shoe salesman. That man became the well-known evangelist Dwight L. Moody.

After evangelizing in America, D. L. Moody traveled to England. There Frederick B. Meyer heard his message. F. B. Meyer was so affected by the impact Moody’s preaching was having on people that it began to inspire his own ministry. Meyer was invited to come to America, where he preached at Furman University. A student in the audience had decided to quit the ministry and go back to a secular job, but Meyer’s message was given with such fervor that the young man walked to the altar and renewed his vow to preach the gospel. He became the well known evangelist R. G. Lee. Another young man, J. Wilbur Chapman, was inspired by Meyer’s preaching, and Chapman went on to have an amazing impact as well. Chapman came along side Billy Sunday, a recent convert, and mentored him.

Billy Sunday became an evangelist, holding a meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina. Sunday so inspired a group of businessmen that they organized a committee to invite other preachers back to evangelize their city. One of those invited was Mordecai Ham. In one of the meetings Ham preached, a young man by the name of Billy gave his heart to Christ. Billy Graham’s ministry is known throughout the world and his crusades have influenced hundreds of thousands if not millions.

All this happened because of one Edward Kimball. One nobody won one other nobody, and that started a series of dominoes falling that ended up with millions acknowledging Jesus as Savior. That’s the power of one.

That’s Andrew. Every time Andrew is mentioned, he’s bringing someone to Jesus—then Jesus does the rest, and lives get transformed. His single talent seems to have been leveraging his relationships to introduce seekers to Christ. He doesn’t lay the “Four Spiritual Laws” on them; he doesn’t whip out a “Roman Road” tract on them. He just says, “hey, come with me, I’ve got someone I want you to meet.”

That’s the Andrew Factor—which, if you haven’t picked up on it by now, is simply inviting your friends to church and letting God do the rest.

Did you know that 80% of people who come to Christ do so through an established friendship. 10% of the people you bring to church for the first time are likely to become regular attenders. Get people to come twice, 25% become attenders. Bring them a third time, 45% will become a part of the church. Most people don’t join a church because of the great music, the outstanding programs, or the sensational preaching. They will come, and get transformed, because of you!

That’s the power of one! That’s the power of you!

“I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith.” ~Paul, Philemon 1:6

Reflect and Apply: Ask the Lord to help you to cut through all of the things that distract you from the most important thing you should be doing with your life:  Bringing people to Christ.

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One thought on “The Power Of One

  1. And then there was that other disciple, John. He was one of the two, and his life and posterity was much different. It was he who pointed out Andrew’s significance in the Gospels. The fact he doesn’t call to attention that he was Jesus’ first disciple would imply humility. Yet he also wished to call down fire from heaven, and with his brother, also chosen as an apostle, desired to have preeminence among the disciples. I always wondered why he chose to be referred to the one whom Jesus loved, yet it is only through his testimony that he know others were also known by this same title. Jesus loved many, and loves all those who keep his word to do it.

    The greater majority of them have slipped into relative obscurity, which is largely due to their influence on our European culture. We judge who were the greatest of them based on their enduring posterity in that regard. God’s judgment is greater. It is also the only one that really matters. And he created all of us for his own purposes, so we shall all inherit own own legacies, as did Peter, John, or Andrew.