- THE BROTHER OF PETER
Because of the fact that the New Testament refers to him 12 times we could come to the conclusion that he is a person of the first degree. But before we are deceived with numbers we must analyze the matter thoroughly. The first thing that surprises us is that he does not have a personality of his own, so that he always appears depending on his brother Peter. So that, if he becomes important it is only by–means of his fraternal bond with Simon Peter, of which certainly he is not to blame. Surely had he not been the brother of Peter we could know him much better for his own characteristics as his personality is rich and varied.
He was born in Bethsaida, a fisherman of the Sea of Galilee and an inhabitant of Cafarnaum: Jn 1, 14; Mark 1, 16.29. With notable international diplomatic qualities for being a Minister of Exterior Relations in the kingdom of David. He even had the Greek name ANDREW which means “MAN”.
– A disciple of John the Baptist in the Valley of the Jordan: Jn. 1, 35-40.
– And the most important thing, he was one of the first disciples of Jesus: Jn 1, 40.
For any those attributes he could be very well identified and thus present to us his own personality…but, he had the bad luck to be the brother of the great Simon Peter, and therefore for all generations he would be known simply as “the brother of Peter”. Of the 12 times that he appears in the New Testament, for half of them he is called by that name (the brother of Peter). On the other hand he is never presented alone; but always in connection with another disciple : Mt 4,18; 10, 2; Mark 1,16; 1, 29; 3, 18; 13, 3; Luke 6, 14; Jn 1, 40; 1, 44; 6, 8; 12, 22; Acts 1, 13. It would appear unjust that he is chiefly identified by t the fraternal link with Simon Peter, while he (Peter) is never referred to as “the brother of Andrew”.
Andrew and John, disciples of John the Baptist, had been heard to say:
“I AM NOT THE MESSIAH, NOR ELIAS NOR THE PROPHET.
HE COMES AFTER ME (Jn 1, 20.30)
IT IS NECESSARY THAT HE INCREASES AND THAT I DECREASE”
… and one evening, when Jesus passed in front of them, the master gave to his disciples the last and most important of his teachings:
“BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD; THIS IS HE WHO WILL BAPTIZE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT.” (Jn 1, 37 and 33)
They learned the lesson, and without saying even one single word, they left the Precursor and in silence they followed Jesus whom they were losing sight of along the valley of the Jordan. John the Baptist did not reproach him; on the contrary, to give that testimony was he sent (Jn 1, 6-7).
In the midst of the solitude and the mystery of the desert, where many robbers’ highwaymen abound, Jesus tells that two suspicious men had been following him for a while. Unexpectedly he turned towards them and asked:
“WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?” (What do you want?)
They did not know how to answer such a profound question and therefore they in turn ask a question:
“RABBI, WHERE DO YOU LIVE?” (John 1, 38b)
Recognizing Jesus as Master (Rabbi) but we note that they did not ask “what do you teach?” nor “who are you?”, “What do you do?” “What books have you written?” “What titles (degrees) have you got?” They get down to fundamentals: “Where do you live?”
What most interested them were not the credentials not even if he is authorized or if he has a doctorate from the Rabbinical School of Jerusalem… what is most important is TO LIVE WITH HIM. And, that, the Master Jesus does not teach so much a doctrine as a life: Jn 10,10; some relations based on the love that he alone in the practice of living in harmony with him can be learned (That means: It is only in living in harmony with him -Jesus- that we can learn that love). What they want is to learn to LIVE. The Evangelist comments immediately afterwards:
“…and they stayed with Him…it was about four in the evening. (Jn 1, 39)
On the other hand, it is a most beautiful teaching to compare this passage with Genesis 1-4. All the commentators are in agreement on seeing those first chapters of John, where “the inaugural week of Jesus” is narrated and compared to “the week of the Creation” which we find at the beginning of the book of Genesis. We note the strong and profound parallel which without is intentional on the part of the Evangelist.
The first time that God spoke to man was thus:
“When they heard the sound of the Lord God moving about in the garden at the breezy time of the day… the Lord called to the man and asked him:
‘Where are you?’”
On the other hand, in the Gospel of St. John the first time that men speak to God it was in this manner:
“Jesus passed through the desert, about four in the afternoon” and he made practically the same question: “Where do you live?”
God searches for the sinner so that he in turn may look for him and find him. God makes his abode in the desert of men’s hearts so that they may be able to participate in his divine life.
“One of the two who had followed him after hearing John was Simon Peter’s brother, Andrew. The first thing he did was to seek out his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah!’ (This term means the Anointed-Christ) He brought him to Jesus who looked at him and said: YOU ARE SIMON SON OF JOHN; YOUR NAME SHALL BE CALLED CEPHAS (which is rendered Peter…rock)” (John 1, 40-42)
Andrew got up very early and he went to where his brother Simon was. Without asking permission to speak he began to give his testimony:
“I am just after finding a precious pearl. I have found what I have looked for all my life. I had a personal encounter with the Messiah. My life is transformed because I know Jesus.”
And afterwards he invited Simon so that he would have the very same experience.
Simon did not reply. The enthusiasm and conviction of which his brother spoke left him speechless with astonishment. This is the only occasion in the whole Gospel where Simon Peter did not open his mouth to give an opinion. The force (strength) of the testimony of his brother which he personally got after meeting Jesus personally did not admit of the least reply.
Andrew, on being made a disciple of Jesus “found his brother and brought him to Jesus”. This was the most important thing of his whole life.
Nevertheless it must be clearly noted that he did not bring himself but that he conducted him towards Jesus. This is the first great teaching of the brother of Peter for all masters and pastors: to bring his sheep not to himself, but to the OWNER of the FLOCK. St. Paul says that the first characteristic of false pastors is that,
“Savage wolves will come among you who will not spare the flock.”
(Acts 20, 29)
Jesus divided in two the life of each one of those brothers. Andrew, who is possibly older than Simon (cf. John 1, 46), passed to a second plane. All his life he was unconstrained in the Sea of Tiberiades and with the Baptist in the desert. He shred his profession with his brother, he shared his house also and even his mother-in-law. But since the day that instead of catching fished he fished Simon, he lived with Jesus and shared with him everything he had (all his life).
Thus as Simon left being Simon to be Peter, so also did Andrew leave being Andrew to become “the brother of Peter”.
The projection of the brother of Peter is irreplaceable in the Church of all times. He was the first disciple and the first pastor. He was the first evangelist who brought the Good News of Jesus to another person: to his brother. And his life was changed.
Let us return to the comparison with the Book of Genesis: The first question that God made to a son of Adam and Eve was:
“WHERE IS YOUR BROTHER ABEL?” (Genesis 4, 9)
And in the 4th Gospel Andrew answers Jesus:
“Here is my brother Peter.”
The projection of Andrew is capital. Look for another that could serve the Lord better than yourself. If each pastor could look for one or another disciple who could serve Jesus more and better, with this he would already have perfectly fulfilled his pastoral duty.
In the communities as in the Church, everyone wants to be Peter the head and rock, Peter the spokesman of the community, Peter of the morning of Pentecost. But, first they lack an Andrew who calls them (he lacks an Andrew who calls him).
God and the Church do not need thousands of Peters. On the contrary they only need one. God needs thousands of Andrew who might go with his brother and would convert him into one new disciple and bring him to Jesus. God needs men who know how to answer with acts where his brother is.
Andrew is a model of the disciple and pastor of the Church and of every type of Christian community.
– It is he who follows and lives with Jesus.
– It is he who learns, living with Jesus, not so much a new doctrine or theory but a new manner of living.
– It is he who disappears so that Christ will appear.
– He is not the owner of any kind of primogeniture (firstborn), but he looks for another who can serve the Lord better than he can and he will cede to him the principal position.
– It is he who will lead his disciples to Jesus, not to himself. The others will not follow him but will follow whom he follows (Jesus).
– It is he who does not make many things or everything but in whom God is able to realize his plan even though he passes into history with the obscure and in its own way, the glorious name of “THE BROTHER OF PETER”.
Chapter 2 of Father Menard book Peter: Disciple and Pastor.