First Things First: Evangelism


“One of the two who heard John speak and follow Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus” (John 1:40-42).

As a result of John’s testimony about Jesus, some of Jesus’ future disciples were introduced to him for the first time. When one of them, Andrew, learned who Jesus was, his first impulse was to go find his brother Simon. Andrew had heard the good news, and he wanted to share it. And he wanted to share it with his brother.

We don’t know much about Andrew. He always seemed to live under the shadow of his brother Peter. Repeatedly he is identified in Scripture as “Simon Peter’s brother.” And yet, Andrew was one of the first two disciples who ever followed Jesus. It was Andrew who first introduced Peter to Jesus.

In fact, it appears that Andrew was always bringing others to Jesus. There are only three times in the gospel story when the light shines on Andrew. There is this incident, in which he brings Peter to Jesus. There is the incident when Andrew brings to Jesus the boy with five loaves and two small fishes (John 6:8-9). And there is the time when he brings the inquiring Greeks into the presence of Jesus (John 12:22). It was Andrew’s great joy, it seems, to bring others to meet Jesus.

Andrew had the spirit of evangelism. He wanted to share the good news with others. It ought to be natural for us, as well, to want to share the good news we have heard. The gospel is God’s power for salvation (Rom. 1:16). Souls are valuable to God (John 3:16), and they should be to us as well.

Evangelism should be a priority for us as the Lord’s disciples. Jesus commissioned his disciples to “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15). It’s how the Lord said to make disciples and cause his kingdom to grow (Matt. 28:19).

Where to begin? Start simply, by doing as Andrew did. Go to those who are closest to us—our family, friends, and loved ones. Introduce our neighbors to Jesus. We never know how much of a difference it can make in their lives and the lives of others.

What an impact Andrew’s decision would make! What a difference his brother Peter was to make in this world as a servant of Christ! As F. F. Bruce observed, “Andrew must have recalled with deep satisfaction that day when he brought his brother and their Master together. No one can foresee, when he brings a man or woman to Jesus, what Jesus will make of that person” (The Gospel of John, 57-58).

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns’” (Isa. 52:7).

Dan Petty