In today’s Daily Office readings, we hear about the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in the Gospel of John. Andrew, Peter’s brother, is a disciple of John the Baptist. When John the Baptist points to Jesus and proclaims, “Behold! Here is the Lamb of God!” Andrew decides to follow Jesus.
The gospel puts it this way:
One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. Andrew first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah (which is translated Anointed). Andrew brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter). – John 1:40-42
A former Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, is the author of my favorite commentary on John’s gospel. Legend has it that Temple wrote the entire commentary while on his knees as a sign of devotion. Temple’s words on this passage from John have never ceased to amaze me:
“Andrew became the first missionary. We do not know very much about Andrew; but we know a great deal about his brother, and he was Andrew’s convert. Who shall say that Peter himself did more for His Lord than Andrew who brought Peter to Him? It is ever so. We never know who is doing the greatest work for God.
“Here is a man [for example] who holds great office in the Church and preaches to the multitudes; yet a the end, all he has done is to keep things from falling back. And there is a girl, poor and uneducated, of whom no one ever thinks; but because she is loving and devout she sows the seed of life in a child entrusted to her care who grows up to be a missionary pioneer, or Christian statesman, or profound theologian – shaping the history of nations or the thought of generations.
Andrew findeth his own brother; perhaps it is as great a service to the Church as ever any man did.”