TEEN TREE OF LIFE

THE TWELVE APOSTLES

Part 3

October 8, 2017

 

BEFORE we begin, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, take a moment to name your sins to God the Father. This will allow you to be filled with the power of The Holy Spirit as you read this booklet (EPH 5:18 & 1JO 1:9). IF YOU HAVE never believed in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have that opportunity right now. Simply tell God the Father that you are believing on His Son Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you make that decision, you are now a believer and will always be a child of God! When you die, you will spend eternity with Him forever in heaven! (JOH 3:16 & ACT 16:31).

 

We are looking at the apostle Peter in our study of the Twelve Apostles. We’ll now learn about his missions. Peter left Jerusalem and after working for some time in Samaria, he returned to Jerusalem to report the results of his work to the church there. (See Acts 8:14-25) He remained there for a period, during which he met Paul for the first time since his conversion: Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas [Peter], and stayed with him fifteen days. (GAL 1:18) Peter left Jerusalem again on a missionary journey to Lydda and Joppa. He then went to Caesarea to open the door of the Christian church to the Gentiles there. After remaining there for some time, he returned to Jerusalem where he defended his conduct with reference to the Gentiles. Next, we hear of his being cast into prison by Herod Agrippa; but in the night, an angel of The Lord opened the prison gates and he was set free. He found refuge at the home of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark.

 

We have no further mention of Peter in the ACTS of the Apostles. We think he may have gone down to Antioch after the council at Jerusalem where he was found guilty of false pretense, for which he was severely reprimanded by Paul who wrote: But when Cephas [Peter] came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews? We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles; nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified. (GAL 2:11-16)

 

It can be assumed that Peter then traveled Paul’s routes until arriving at Rome, where he was martyred. A martyr is a person who chooses to die or be killed rather than give up his or her religion. Foxes Book of Martyrs states: “Among many other saints, the blessed Apostle Peter was condemned to death, and crucified, as some do write, at Rome; albeit some others, and not without cause, do doubt thereof.  Hegesippus saith that Nero sought matter against Peter to put him to death; which, when the people perceived, they entreated Peter with much ado that he would fly the city. Peter, through their importunity at length persuaded, prepared himself to avoid. But, coming to the gate, he saw the Lord Christ come to meet him, to whom he, worshipping, said, “Lord, whither dost Thou go?” To whom He answered and said, “I am come again to be crucified.” By this, Peter, perceiving his suffering to be understood, returned into the city. Jerome saith that he was crucified, his head being down and his feet upward, himself so requiring, because he was (he said) unworthy to be crucified after the same form and manner as the Lord was.”

 

Peter’s legacy lived on long after his death. He is said to have inspired the writing of the first of the Gospels by Mark who had been Peter’s interpreter in Rome. To a great extent, later generations of the church rely on the confession, witness, and ministry of Peter, the devoted, but fallible follower of Christ. As the representative Disciple, his enthusiasm and even his weaknesses have made him the supreme example of the developing disciple, one who, through the Power of The Risen Lord, rose above his faults to become a towering figure on the church scene.

 

            Now, we’ll look at Andrew whose name in Greek means “manly, manliness, or a strong man.” No Hebrew or Aramaic name is recorded for him. We have mentioned him in the section on Peter about being his younger brother. He is a native of the city of Bethsaida in Galilee, the son of Jonah (John) and brother of Simon Peter. JOH 1:40 says: One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.

 

Little is known about Andrew though he was the first to identify The Christ or The Messiah: Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?” He said to them, “Come, and you will see.” So 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 found first his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which translated means Christ). (JOH 1:35-41)

 

Interestingly, Andrew, though he was in business with His brother Simon-Peter, was not considered part of the “inner circle.” Simon-Peter, James and John were. Andrew is left out, though he was one of the “confidential” Disciples with Peter, James, and John. This will be seen as we discuss James and John below. Andrew was either an unassuming figure and just forgotten about or had some personality traits that the others did not have. It is noteworthy that the Bible states that Andrew brings others to Christ three times: first Peter; then, the boy with the loaves and fish; and after that, certain Greeks. These incidents prove his worthiness as an apostle.

 

Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist first. He was led to receive Jesus when John pointed Him out as “the Lamb of God,” as we read above. Andrew became the first of Jesus’ Disciples. He then brought his brother Simon to the Lord, telling him that he had “found the Messiah,” an action that continues to be a model for all who bring others to Christ. They both returned to their occupation as fishermen on the Sea of Galilee and remained there until, after John the Baptist’s imprisonment, they were called by Jesus to follow Him: Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” As He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.  (MARK 1:14-18)

 

Andrew is mentioned in the Gospels when he was ordained as one of the twelve. He is also talked about as being one of the confidential disciples along with Peter, James, and John, who spoke with our Lord privately regarding the destruction of the temple and His future coming: As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?” (MARK 13:3-4) Andrew is also mentioned when he brought the boy with the loaves and fish to Our Lord at the feeding of the five thousand. Also, he and Philip introduced Greeks to Jesus who wanted to see Him: Now there were some Greeks among those who were going up to worship at the feast; these then came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip came and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip came and told Jesus. (JOHN 12:20-22) Andrew is mentioned for the last time as one of those who continued at Jerusalem in the “Upper Room” after the Ascension (see Acts 1:13). Scripture relates nothing of him beyond these scattered notices.

 

Things written about Andrew are various. Eusebius quotes Origen as saying Andrew preached in Asia Minor and in Scythia, the region north of the Black Sea, as far as the Volga and Kiev; therefore, he became the patron saint of Romania and Russia. Jerome and Theodore put him in Achaia (Greece), Nicephorus in Asia Minor, and Thrace. It is said that he founded a church in Constantinople and ordained Stachys as its first bishop. This church would later develop into the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Andrew is recognized as its patron saint. He is also considered the patron saint of Scotland. The feast of Saint Andrew is observed on November 30 in both the Eastern and Western churches and is the national day of Scotland.

At length, it is written that he came to Patrae, a city of Achaia, where Aegeas, the proconsul, enraged that he persisted in preaching, commanded him to join in sacrificing to the heathen gods. When Andrew refused, Aegeas ordered him to be severely tormented and then crucified. To drag out his death and suffering, he was fastened to the cross with cords instead of nails. Having hung for two days, praising God, and exhorting the spectators to embrace, or adhere to, the faith, he is said to have died on November 30, but what year is uncertain.

****Foxes Book of Martyrs states: “He preached the Gospel to many Asiatic nations; but on his arrival at Edhessa, he was taken and crucified on a cross, the two ends of which were fixed transversely in the ground. Hence the origin of the term, St. Andrew’s Cross.”

{to be continued}

       

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