What was it like to be Simon Peter's brother?

  I wonder what it was like to be Andrew.

 

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

 

I wonder what it was like to be the one to hear first, to go get your brother, but as quickly as you find him, to fall back into his shadow. To be introduced not based on your own identity, but on your brother’s, for he, and not you, is the one called the Rock on which Jesus will build His Church.

 

I wonder what it was like to be called at the same time as this brother, and a few other friends…

 

“As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him." –Mark 1:16-20

 

… but then to watch as those three, and not you, are called aside and set apart for exceptional times with the Jesus you love.

 

“After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them.” – Mark 9:2

“They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him” – Mark 14:32-33

 

I wonder what it was like to be Andrew.

 

Did he feel pulled between contentment and disappointment? Knowing that he should feel grateful for the position he was given, but wondering if he would ever be the one lifted up? Did he dream that someday he would be the one to preach the sermon that changed the trajectory of the church in the world?

 

When his brother and friends get back from that special excursion up the mountain with Jesus, was Andrew twisted in his gut because of the scene they entered into, that healing the disciples who were left behind couldn’t perform? When that scene began, did Andrew hope this would be his chance, his opportunity to shine and to be seen, and he blew it?

 

When Andrew and the others ask Jesus later why they couldn’t perform the miracle, was the question accompanied by tears? Was the tone revealing of hearts plagued with the deep ache of “why not me”?

 

A little while later, when the disciples argue about who would be the greatest, I wonder which one of them started the discussion.

 

Was it a discussion of bragging or of longing? I wonder if it was a question posed by those who had been left behind a few scenes earlier, pondering whether Jesus would ever ask them to be the ones to journey up a mountain with him. Questioning whether they should dare to hold onto hope.

 

I wonder what happened in their hearts when they heard these words of Jesus in response.

 

“Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.’” –Mark 9:35

 

To Andrew, were these words life-giving or spirit-squelching?

 

I don’t know how Andrew felt, but I do know how I feel: these words of Jesus are so much more difficult than we like to admit.