Andrew and Peter: Lessons from A Family Portrait

Have you ever wondered if Jesus could utilize someone like you in His ministry? We don’t have to look far to realize that the answer is a resounding yes! Just look at the polar opposite brothers, Andrew and Peter, whom Jesus called to be His first disciples. Andrew was quiet, preferred to engage with people one on one, and didn’t mind being behind the scenes. Yet, he held a pivotal role in Christ’s earthly ministry. On the other hand, his brother Peter was outspoken and a natural leader, yet often made rash decisions that could lead to disaster. And Jesus saw both of them as integral members of the Church He was sent by the Father to build.

We first meet Andrew in the midst of John the Baptist’s ministry. Andrew and the apostle John were present when John the Baptist declared Jesus to be the Lamb of God. (John 1:35-36) Both men immediately followed Jesus, who took notice of them and invited them to spend the day with him. Andrew became convinced that Jesus was the Messiah, and the first person he told was his brother, Simon Peter. Thus, had it not been for the faithful following of Andrew, his brother Peter may never have known Jesus Christ, the Son of God! And although Andrew preferred to hang back in the periphery, he was vital to many pivotal points of Christ’s journey. For instance, 

• When some Greeks approached fellow disciple Philip wanting to see Jesus, Andrew immediately joined Philip in bringing the matter to their Leader. Andrew instinctively knew that Jesus had come to save all men, and he joined Him in inviting all to believe!

• When Jesus was teaching the 5000 and knew that they needed to be fed, Andrew was the disciple who brought a boy with five loaves of bread and two fish to the Messiah. Jesus fed those 5000 men, as well as their wives and children, through Andrew’s obedience and faith.

Little did Andrew know at the time that the most essential decision he made (next to following Jesus himself) was to introduce his brother Peter to the Messiah. Originally named Simon, Jesus renamed him “Cephas,” (meaning a rock) as he would become the stable leader through whom Jesus built His church. But Peter’s early efforts as a disciple were anything but stable. Indeed, he was described as impetuous – acting quickly without thought or care. Yes, Peter’s leadership qualities became evident from the beginning.

• He was the only disciple to walk on water.

• He was the first disciple to express his faith in Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God.

• He defended Jesus boldly in the Garden of Gethsemane.

And despite his expertise as a fisherman, he willingly submitted to Christ’s call to recast, despite a night of empty nets.

But there was another side to this man of faith. His initial steps of faith often faltered. The same Peter who walked on water sank quickly when he shifted his focus off of the Savior and onto his circumstances. The first disciple to declare Jesus as Lord later denied Him three times. And the bold defender of his Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane brutally severed the ear of a Roman soldier, inciting rebuke from the Leader he loved.

And how did Christ respond to those gaffs? With grace and restoration.

After Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection, we witness a poignant interaction between Him and Peter on the very shores where Jesus first invited him to be His disciple. Despite Peter denying Christ three times during the most painful time of the Savior’s ministry, John 21 records that Jesus fed him breakfast.

“Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

“4 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” 6 He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. 7 That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. 8 The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards [a] off.

“9 When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

“15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

On the night that Jesus ate the Last Supper with His disciples, Peter denied Him three times. Yet, now Jesus feeds him breakfast at a dawn of new mercies. He feeds him through an overflowing net of fish – the second time He performed that miracle in front of Peter. Yet, this time the net was not torn – a symbol of the glorious power Christ now beheld and would give to His disciple. And as they huddled around an early morning campfire, breaking bread together, Jesus restored Peter three times – once for each time Peter had denied Him. Isn’t our God glorious?!

Friend, where are you in your walk with Jesus? Do you quietly hang back in the background, or are you the front and center kind? Do you wonder if your voice is heard, or are you often caught with a foot in your mouth? Do you prefer to engage with that singular soul sitting by themselves, or are crowds more your type? Either way, Christ has a plan for you and a message for you to share, written according to your God-given design. Whether you are like one-on-one Andrew or are built to preach like Peter, you are a beautiful, vital member of the Family of God. Lean in to Him, seek Him and see the ways He will work in you and through you!

— The Sublime Soiree © June 9, 2021

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