An Introduction to Jesus

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John the Baptist points away from himself to Christ. He introduces two of his disciples to Jesus. Andrew is one of these disciples. And what John the Baptist does for Andrew does for his brother Simon. He shares his experience with Simon, tells him that he has met the Christ, and introduces him to Jesus.
In the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke Andrew is known simply as “the brother of Peter.” But in John’s Gospel Andrew has the special function of introducing people to Jesus. Before the feeding of the five thousand, Andrew discovers a small boy who has five loaves and two fish; the disciple introduces the boy to Jesus, who takes the little food, blesses it, and offers it for distribution. The last appearance of Andrew is just before the Passover festivities in Jerusalem. Some Greeks speak to the apostle Philip and express their desire to meet Jesus. Philip tells Andrew, and together they introduce the delegation to Jesus. Like Eli the high priest from the first reading of this Sunday, and John the Baptist, Andrew’s role is to bring others into the presence of the Lord.
When we reflect on the beginnings of our own Christian faith, we recall the people who introduced us to Jesus. We might be able to recall a particular person who enabled us to begin our journey in faith, as we can think of others who introduced us anew to Jesus. None of us goes alone to Jesus: access to Jesus is always mediated through people. Before we meet Jesus, first we meet a litany of other people. We all come to Jesus by way of generations of Christians who shared their experience of Jesus, people who were themselves introduced to Jesus by others. Thus the story of Christianity is a story of a great chain of witnesses linked through the apostles to Jesus himself.
Of course we too have to play our own part in introducing others to Jesus. We don’t have to be great missionaries travelling to other countries to do this; if we believe that Jesus is worth knowing, we will bring others into his loving presence by our sometimes quiet witness. In that way the Christian faith grows, and there will never be an end to it. Because somewhere, someone like the Apostle Andrew will be bringing another person to meet Jesus of Nazareth. From Denis McBride. Seasons of the Word

Newsletter 17-18 Jan 2015