Life can turn on a dime. Circumstances, events, people, words of a song, a movie, or moment of introspection can change us forever. Sometimes that life-altering turn comes because of what appears to be a chance word we hear in a song, or because of a note we receive from a friend, or because of a phrase we read. Other times, that dramatic turn comes through what appears to be a random opportunity. Other times, our life-change comes through the bewildering touch of grace that introduces us to someone whose influence unsettles our ordinariness and redirects our energies in surprising new directions. No matter the source of this kind of change, our plans are re-routed toward fresh hope. Such a moment happened in the life of Andrew and a friend after getting to know Jesus.
Andrew had prepared himself to be ready for the Messiah — "God's Chosen One" — regardless of the cost. That's why he had become a disciple of John the Baptizer (Mark 1:1-9; John 1:6-8; John 1:19-27). John the Baptizer's ministry also set in motion Andrew's life of connecting people with Jesus. John's gospel describes Andrew's moment of life-altering change in these words:
"I baptize with water," John replied, "but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie."
This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel."
Then John gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' I have seen and I testify that this is God's Chosen One."
The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!"
When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, "What do you want?"
They said, "Rabbi" (which means "Teacher"), "where are you staying?"
"Come," he replied, "and you will see."
So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon (John 1:26-39).
After meeting the Lord, when we see Andrew in Scripture he is connecting people with Jesus — what we are calling, over the next few weeks, "The Andrew Effect."* So, this event with Jesus is especially important because it is the pivot-point in Andrew's life. He rerouted his life from fishing for fish in his shared business with his brother Simon Peter, and began "to fish for people" (Mark 1:16-18). This afternoon meeting with Jesus changed Andrew forever. It also provides us a window into the first principle of "The Andrew Effect": connecting with Jesus personally.
When Andrew and another of the Baptizer's disciples followed Jesus, Jesus turned and asked them a crucial question: "What are you seeking" (John 1:38 ESV). This is a question of watershed importance for Andrew, and for each of us. How we answers can redirect all of life that follows. Andrew's answer changed everything for him. Yet translating his answer into English is a bit tricky. Most translations go with something like, "Rabbi... where are you staying?" Literally, the question is this: "Rabbi, where do you abide?"
Clearly, Andrew's question wasn't about Jesus' physical address. He wasn't going to look up Jesus' house on Zillow and find out about the neighborhood. Andrew wanted to know where Jesus' heart was, what mattered to him most, and what made Jesus tick. In cornbread (though incorrect) English, Andrew and his friend were asking Jesus, "Teacher, I desperately need to know where you're at!"
Andrew followed Jesus because he was after much more than an afternoon at Jesus' house. He wanted an in-depth look at Jesus' values, teaching, mission, and purpose. He wanted to know if Jesus was the person the Baptizer had claimed him to be. He wanted to know if Jesus was God's Messiah. He wanted to know if Jesus was the one person in whom he would invest his hopes, dreams, and life. He wanted to know if following Jesus was his future!
Jesus was looking for followers with Andrew's kind of passion. He invited Andrew and his friend to come to spend time with him with these words: "Come and you will see." Then we are told:
So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon (John 1:39).
The results of this afternoon of deep conversation were immediate and astounding:
Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus (John 1:40-42).
Andrew began his life's work of connecting people with Jesus after this important time with Jesus.
The principle derived from Andrew's life is as important as it clear: if we are going to connect people with Jesus, we've got to know Jesus. More than knowing about Jesus, we have to know Jesus' values, teaching, mission, and purpose. We have to know what made him tick. We have to feel his passion for the Father and know his love for people — all kinds of people across every spectrum of life.
Unfortunately, because we live with two thousand years of separation from Jesus' physical presence on earth, we are not sure it's possible for us to have this kind of intimate relationship with Jesus. We're not sure we can say to Jesus, "Lord, I desperately need to know where you're at!" We're not sure we can truly know him today, so we accept simply knowing about him. When I hear these doubts about knowing Jesus today, I am reminded of a college student from China who had heard the message of Jesus. Her response was powerfully true: "So if Jesus is raised from the dead, then I can know him, today!"
Notice the four stages of Andrew's move toward knowing Jesus that prepared him for his life of connecting people with Jesus:
Listen to those who know Jesus and in whom the heart of Jesus is displayed. We're not necessarily looking for a Biblical expert or a well-respected church leader, but a person whose life has been changed and permeated by Jesus! John the Baptizer was that person for Andrew. When John pointed to Jesus, Andrew sought after Jesus with all his heart.
Spend time with Jesus, seek after him with all your heart, and invest your life in him. The first four books of the New Testament are stories of Jesus' earthly ministry. Do more than read them, devour them. Know them and let Jesus' life and ministry permeate your heart and fill your mind. Listen to Jesus' teaching and try to obey it. Notice how Jesus viewed and treated people, then do the same. Then notice in the book of Acts how Jesus was still at work, alive and moving, in his early disciples as they lived for him. Jesus promises to meet us as we live out his will in our lives (Matthew 18:20; Matthew 25:40; Matthew 28:18-20). He's even promised that the Holy Spirit given us when we believed, turned to follow him, and were baptized would be with us forever and lead us into all the truth about him, and he would come and make his home in us (John 14:15-21; John 16:13-15).
Ask Jesus to reveal himself, his will, his heart, and his mission to you. He's promised that if we seek after him, we will find him (Matthew 7:7-8). Jesus is not trying to hide from us. He longs to come and make his home with us and dwell in us (John 14:23). So let's ask Jesus, "Lord, show where you're at. Show me your heart as you make my heart your home."
Trust him to keep his promises to be with us (Romans 8:31-39). Look for him taking part in the places, people, and ministries in which he's promised to be present (Matthew 18:20; Matthew 25:40; Matthew 28:18-20).
Andrew's first step on the road to connecting people to Jesus was to spend time personally connecting his life and his heart to Jesus. If we want to see "The Andrew Effect" become part of our lives, we're going to have to do the same. But this can't be reduced to a color-by-numbers process. It is not stirring together the four items we just covered as if they were a recipe to be baked. Instead, our hearts have to yearn to know Jesus. We must be willing to truly seek to know him.
After Jesus' death, burial, resurection, and ascension, his followers continued the Lord's ministry. As persecution against them mounted, Jesus'disciples faced opposition, hardship, and imprisonment. However, the Lord's followers astounded their persecutors with their deep faith and their ability to defend their convictions so powerfully. Luke describes it this way:
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).
Wouldn't that be a great statement to have said of us? Shouldn't our goal be for people to hear our words and observe our actions and recognize that we had been with Jesus?
"The Andrew Effect" involves the four key pieces with an introduction. You can find more on the various components and movements of the "The Andrew Effect" in the following posts:
- Intro: Connecting People to Jesus.
- One: Connecting to Jesus Personally.
- Two: Connecting Those We Know to Jesus.
- Three: Connecting Those Who Want to Help with Jesus.
- Four: Connecting People of Other Cultures to Jesus.