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As a Bible lesson in our Unsung Bible Hero Series, this takes a fresh look at a one of the lesser known characters in the Bible who was essential in helping others complete their God-given mission. Unsung heroes are all around us; you may be one!
Small matters. God is working in and through us each and every day whether we see it or others notice. He is at work.
Bible Lesson Summary: Character study on Andrew, the brother of Peter. Although Andrew is lesser known, God used him in special ways.
Time/Audience: This lesson took about 40-50 minutes with a group of 12 third and fourth graders. It is easily adaptable to be used with both younger children and youth.
Bible Lesson Preparation: For the craft activity you will need a cardboard tube, saran wrap, rubber band and permanent marker for each student. You may want to also have a flashlight and dark space available to demonstrate.
Bible Lesson Scriptures: John 1:35-44, Matthew 4:18-20, Mark 3:13-18, Mark 13:3-5, John 6:1-15, Luke 9:10, John 12:20-26
Bible Lesson Key Takeaway: We are all important in the Body of Christ; even though we may feel small, God is at work in us and through us.
Ask kids if they can name the smallest part of their body. Lead them to go even smaller and smaller until they begin naming cells, molecules, etc.
We first think of the parts we are able to see. But even the parts we can't see like our heart are made up of smaller parts like red and white blood cells and platelets. But platelets are made up of even smaller molecules, and each is very important for our bodies to work!
The study of these microscopic parts is called "Human Histology". God even uses our bodies to teach us that "small is BIG in His hands!"
Either have each student make a list on a sheet of paper or work together as a group to name 5 super hero characters. Ask if they can also list each character's real name and something they know about them. Take a few minutes to discuss those we know well.
Ask if anyone named "Alpha - Andrew Maguire". Most of us know of Peter Parker aka Spider-man, but very few have heard of his sidekick created in 2012.
In the same way we knew about Peter Parker, most of us have heard of the disciple Peter in the Bible. Have them name all the things they can remember about the apostle Peter. These may include:
How many things can we name about his brother Andrew though? Even though we may see him as Peter's "sidekick", God worked through Andrew for special purpose. Let's take a closer look and be reminded of how God wants to work in and through our lives as well, even if we feel small and lesser known.
There are many "sidekicks" we may not recall their names or know much about them, but they were important for how they supported and worked alongside super heroes of which we have heard.
Spider-man's sidekick superhero, Andrew McGuire, was called "Alpha" which means first because alpha is the first letter in the Greek alphabet. This fits our Andrew in the Bible too because he was actually the first disciple to meet and begin following Jesus!
I always like to let my students know it is okay to use the Table of Contents in their Bibles if they are not sure where a Book of the Bible is.
Have them name the four Gospels while also reminding them they are at the beginning of the New Testament. Today we will start in Matthew, but also read a story from the Gospel of John.
We first get a glimpse of Andrew at Jesus' baptism. John tells us that Andrew was first a disciple of John the Baptist. Andrew then heard John the Baptist proclaim Jesus as the Messiah for which they had been waiting.
Turn in your Bibles to the Gospel of John chapter 1, let's look at verses 35-42,44:
35 The following day John was again standing with two of his disciples. 36 As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and declared, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!” 37 When John’s two disciples heard this, they followed Jesus.
38 Jesus looked around and saw them following. “What do you want?” he asked them.
They replied, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”
39 “Come and see,” he said. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon when they went with him to the place where he was staying, and they remained with him the rest of the day.
40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of these men who heard what John said and then followed Jesus. 41 Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means “Christ”).
42 Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, “Your name is Simon, son of John—but you will be called Cephas” (which means “Peter”).
44 "Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida."
From these Bible lesson verses we see that Andrew and John were most likely the first two of Jesus's twelve disciples to meet Jesus and spend time with him.
We also begin to see Andrew's love for others and passion for witnessing. Verse 40 tells us Andrew went to find his brother, Simon (Peter) and told him about Jesus! He not only found Peter & told Peter about Jesus, he also brought Peter to Jesus.
We usually study a great deal about Peter in the Bible, but how important for us to realize that the lesser-known Andrew was the one who introduced Peter to Jesus in the first place!
*Read verse 44; make note that Philip, Andrew & Peter were from Bethsaida for later.
God uses each of us in unique ways. What we may think of as something simple and small, God may use in ways we could only imagine! The main key is for us to be faithful in whatever God calls us to whether we or others see it as big or small.
That makes me think of what Jesus said in Luke 16:10 -
“The one who is faithful in a very little thing is also faithful in much; and the one who is unrighteous in a very little thing is also unrighteous in much."
Back to Andrew...
Andrew's first inclination was to share Jesus with his brother! Another first for our "Alpha Hero"! Let's give Andrew a super hero name; let's call him - "The Introducer" with the power to love and share Jesus with others. Now that's a super power that not only changes lives but also saves lives!
Let's look at a few other interactions Andrew and Peter had with Jesus. Turn to the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 4, verses 18-20.
"Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him."
Here we see that Jesus called Andrew and Peter to do more that just meet Him; He called them to follow Him. Jesus wants us to do the same. He wants us to spend time with Him daily getting to know Him and become more like Him, not to just meet Him and be satisfied with just knowing about Him.
"Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. 14 He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach 15 and to have authority to drive out demons. 16 These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter), 17 James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means “sons of thunder”), 18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him." -NIV
Andrew was called to be one of Jesus' disciples. Notice in the list Andrew is number four. Also notice that any power or authority the disciples had was given to them by Jesus.
Now let's look at another encounter where Andrew was number four again.
"As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew were questioning Him privately, “Tell us, when will these things come about, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?” And Jesus began to say to them, “See to it that no one misleads you."
Throughout the four Gospels we see that Peter, James and John are time and again with Jesus when no one else was around. They were His three closest friends. However, here we see that Andrew also drew close to Jesus in private this time.
We don't have to be seen as number one to be a super hero. In fact, Jesus instructed the disciples that the first would be last and the last first when James and John were jockeying for position of number one.
Andrew's position as "fourth" wasn't what was key. The key was that he drew close to Jesus when he could. It seems Andrew knew from where his strength came. This is so important for us as followers of Jesus to also remember.
What's important isn't what others see us as, but who God sees and desires us to be as one of His children constantly seeking and obeying Him.
Now let's look at a story recorded in all four Gospels - John 6, Matthew 14, Mark 6, and Luke 9. For our purpose today, let's turn to
This is probably a familiar story; it's the story where Jesus feeds over 5,000 from a little boy's lunch.
In verses 5-8 we see Jesus' interaction with Philip and Andrew.
5 "When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
7 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
Verse 6 says Jesus asked this to Philip to test him. Many times we think of testing as bad, but in actuality testing offers us the chance to recall and identify what we know and understand.
Philip only saw impossible, but Andrew saw possibility and hope! Andrew knew and understood that nothing was impossible with Jesus because He is God. How often do you think God allows testing in our life for us to see if we truly are trusting and abiding in and close to Jesus?
I also have to smile here. John felt the need to identify Andrew as a disciple and Peter's brother. Sometimes sidekicks are only remembered for who they are connected with. For us as believers, this should be true also. It's not important if others remember or see us. It's more important they see the true hero - Jesus!
This is what Andrew understood.
Luke gives us a little more insight into this Bible lesson story as far as where it took place.
"When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida,"
Remember what we learned about Bethsaida earlier? Philip, Andrew & Peter were from there; it was their hometown. This may be why He addressed the question first to Philip - to see if Philip would look at only what he thought he knew and could see with his eyes. Andrew, however, saw beyond the circumstances.
Another interesting fact about Bethsaida is that it was only 25 miles from Jesus' hometown of Nazareth. This may seem like a small detail, but God often shows up in the small details we are tempted to overlook. Let's not just skim over God's Word, but let's pay attention and see beyond like Andrew.
Our last stop in our travel with Andrew today is found in
"Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus."
Some Greeks were seeking Jesus. Philip went to Andrew first and then they told Jesus. It seems Philip knew Andrew's heart for pointing others to Jesus even if they were different. Remember the disciples and Jesus were all Jewish. I wonder if Philip was unsure of taking these Greeks to meet Jesus because they weren't Jewish.
Andrew, however, had no qualms about it. He had a heart for others to know Jesus no matter what their backgrounds or how different they may have been.
We all know how a light would shine in the dark sky to let Batman know he was needed. Make this craft using a cardboard toilet paper tube, rubber band, saran wrap, a permanent marker and flashlight.
Place a piece of saran wrap around one end of the tube. Write a J or a cross on it so that it fills the hole. Remove and turn it around backwards; use a rubber band to hold it in place. Find a dark room or space. Shine the flashlight through the other end of the tube and see the J or cross projected large on the wall! (A demonstration is at the end of the lesson demo video below.)
Let this remind us that we should be shining for Jesus in this dark world. Truly He is needed!
Not only can we take away new facts we may not have known about Andrew, but we can remember:
We may have thought Andrew was just a sidekick, the brother of Peter, but now we see truly Andrew was an unsung hero with a powerful love for others and for Jesus!
Matthew 5:16 - "Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
© Copyright 2020, Susan Smart Permission granted for personal use or small group only.
These 7 Super Hero Bible lessons use the familiarity and fun of comic heroes along with truths from God's Word to help kids learn how they can stand firm and be a hero for God!
These are short concise Bible lessons for kids to do on their on or as a short Bible lesson for family worship, children's church, children's sermon, Awana counsel time, Upwards devotion, etc.
Most include links to longer more in depth kids Bible study lesson plans to use for classroom such as Sunday School or group lessons. I created them primarily for our Wednesday night Preteen group of 3rd-6th graders, but they could be adapted for any age including youth.
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