Thursday, November 30, 2006
A Fisher of Men
Today is St Andrew's Day in Scotland. As well as being patron saint of fishmongers, fishermen, singers, and rope-makers, Andrew became the patron saint of Scotland about a thousand years ago after, in the eighth century, his relics supposedly landed on a beach on the East coast of Scotland, now known as St Andrews.

Another legend tells of the Pictish king Angus fighting against the English in the eighth or nineth century. It is said that he looked up into the sky and saw a Saltire in the clouds. As tradition tells us that Andrew was martyred on a diagonal cross, King Angus saw this as a sign that Andrew was protecting them and then resolved to make him Scotland's patron saint if the battle was won.

Andrew's position as patron saint was confirmed in 1320 in the Declaration of Arbroath, the declaration of Scottish independence after the Scots were lead to victory over the English by Robert the Bruce:

The high qualities and deserts of these people, were they not otherwise manifest, gain glory enough from this: that the King of kings and Lord of lords, our Lord Jesus Christ, after His Passion and Resurrection, called them, even though settled in the uttermost parts of the earth, almost the first to His most holy faith. Nor would he have them confirmed in that faith by merely anyone but by the first of His Apostles - by calling, though second or third in rank - the most gentle Saint Andrew, the Blessed Peter's brother, and desired him to keep them under his protection as their patron forever...The Most Holy Fathers your predecessors gave careful heed to these things and bestowed many favours and numerous privileges on this same kingdom and people, as being the special charge of the Blessed Peter's brother.

What do we really know of Andrew though? John tells us that Andrew was originally a disciple of John the Baptist and listened when he pointed out Jesus, saying, "Behold, the Lamb of God!" He spent time with Jesus that day before returning home to share the news with his brother that ""We have found the Messiah". Andrew and Simon then became the first disciples to be called by Jesus, and they immediately followed him (Matthew 4:18-20).

Other than a few sentences, there is little else said about Andrew throughout the Bible. Tradition teaches that after the resurrection, he went to Greece and Asia Minor to share the Gospel. Perhaps then it is in the little that is recorded that we see his most important action.

Andrew, after only a little time with Jesus, recognised him for who he was and went home to share this truth with his brother so that he could also know Jesus. Andrew must have been listening to the teaching of John the Baptist, eagerly expecting the Messiah to come, and was ready to recognise Jesus when he began his ministry. His example is a reminder to us to share our faith and knowledge of God freely with others. In Andrew's case, he brought Simon Peter to Christ, with Peter becoming one of Jesus' closest disciples and the main disciple to the Jewish people. Andrew's initial influence should not be forgotten as we praise God for all that Peter did.

Window depicting St Andrew, Monimail Parish Church, Fife.
(Crown Copyright: RCAHMS,

While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
Matthew 4:18-20

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  posted at 10:30  

At 30 November, 2006 23:48, Blogger Jonny said...

I am a member of a presbyterian church here in Australia. I hear they have their begginings in Scotland. Is this what you are part of?

At 01 December, 2006 00:07, Blogger Keziah said...

The church in Scotland is mainly Presbyterian. I am a member of the Free Church of Scotland, which is a small evangelical reformed presbyterian denomination. Sadly the presbyterian church here has split many times and there are many denominations with varying degrees of liberality.

The Free Church was formed in 1843 when 450 ministers, along with many of the elders and congregations, left the Church of Scotland in protest at the imposition of ministers upon congregations, particularly where that minister was a liberal and the congregation did not want him but a Bible-believing minister.

I've tried to find some information on all this for you if you are interested - Wikipedia seems to be fairly comprehensive on the matter:

Disruption of 1843

Free Church of Scotland

Sadly we now have the situation in some places where the Free Church is the only evangelical witness and others where there are four Bible-believing and preaching churches within walking distance, yet all of different denominations.


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