The Call of Peter and Andrew
The Italian artist, Duccio, paints an interesting picture of today’s gospel passage of the call of the disciples, Peter and Andrew. Jesus stands on the shore calling the two brothers to come from their boat and follow him. The two brothers have their hands firmly on their fishing nets, looking a little warily at the one who’s calling them. After all, they’re got their livelihood to think about, families to support, and probably a thriving business that’s never been better.
According to John’s gospel, Andrew, not Peter, is the first to answer the call and leads his brother to Jesus. At the Jordan River, Andrew is the first of two Galileans to whom John the Baptist points out Jesus. Afterwards Andrew finds his brother Peter and tells him “We have found the Messiah.” (John 1, 41) Peter, then other disciples from Galilee follow Jesus back to Galilee.
But there’s some doubt about Jesus, John’s gospel indicates. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” asks Nathaniel, who we learn later is from Cana in Galilee, a neighboring town. It takes awhile before some suspicion is overcome.
As the one who introduces Peter to Jesus, Andrew is the first to see beyond popular objections and the first to overcome a natural reluctance to a changed life and vocation. So it took awhile for Peter to leave his nets and whole-heartedly follow Jesus. Andrew led him on the way.
Today we need people like Andrew when there is such questioning of Christianity, such cynicism about the gospel, the church and religion. We need people who can see truth that’s been darkened by scandals or doubt.
We need people like the apostle Andrew.