This post is part of an ongoing series, highlighting the martyrdom of the apostles, deacons, and missionaries of the first century church.
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, is a beloved disciple of Jesus. He is first introduced to us in Matthew 4:18-20, which reads,
“And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him.
Upon answering this call, Andrew became one of the twelve that was discipled by Jesus during his three years of ministry.
Andrew caused a stir
Thanks to Bernard and Cyprian, who recorded both the confession and martyrdom of this apostle, we have a significant amount of historic information surrounding his ministry and consequent death.
They tell us that around the time that God used Andrew’s preaching ministry to bring many people to faith in Christ, Egeas the governor responded to these new conversions by asking the Roman senate to force all Christians to sacrifice to Roman idols. Andrew, of course, resisted Egeas and went to him saying, “While worshiping the true God, (one) should banish all false gods and blind idols from his mind.”
Upon hearing this, Egeas flipped his lid and demanded to know if Andrew was the man who had recently overthrown the temples of the gods and persuaded all kinds of men to become Christians. Christians at this point were considered a “superstitious” sect declared illegal by the Romans.
To this, Andrew boldly replied,
“The rulers of Rome didn’t understand the truth. The son of God who came into the world for man’s sake taught that the Roman gods were devils, enemies of mankind teaching men to offend God, and causing him to turn away from them. By serving the devil, men fall into all kinds of wickedness. And after they die, nothing but their evil deeds are remembered.
Not to our surprise, the proconsul ordered Andrew to not preach these things anymore; otherwise, he would face a “speedy crucifixion”.
Andrew’s famous response
Upon this threat from the Romans, Andrew replied with this amazing line:
“I would not have preached the honor and glory of the cross if I feared the death of the cross.”
He was thereby condemned to be crucified for “taking away the religion of the Roman gods.”
Andrew, while en route to the place of his execution, and seeing the cross waiting for him, never changed his expression, nor did he stumble in his words. With his bold faith maintained, he said, “Oh cross, most welcome and longed for, with a willing mind, joyfully and desirously I come to you being the scholar of him which did hang on you because I have always been your lover and yearn to embrace you.”
The cross he was crucified on had two ends fixed transversely in the ground. This type of crucifixion became known as St. Andrew’s Cross.
elifius william saysApril 29, 2011 at 7:02 am
i for one find it had to believe that Andrew would use such poetry as “Oh cross, most welcome and longed for, with a willing mind, joyfully and desirously I come to you being the scholar of him which did hang on you because I have always been your lover and yearn to embrace you.” showing such devotion to the cross and not the Lord Jesus just cant heartily accept those words as his after reading through the gospels and acts….nope thus i question the account as it was recorded by one who is not known to be Christian as to the faith brought across to roman by the early Jewish believers and were themselves clergy of the roman church and not eye wittinesses themselves
Pat G saysNovember 27, 2011 at 3:17 pm
But I must most respectfully disagree.
Andrew certainly could have been that poetic.
He is known as the patron Saint of Scotland.
He made it that far.
The Foxes Book of Martyrs has long been held as accurate.
Read the speech of St. Stephen in the Bible as he faced his stoning death.
Here is a speech from the Bishop of Smyrna. The “angel” the Alpha and Omega commended in Revelation. St. Polycarp was a direct student of St. John the Divine.
This speech was originally written in ancient Greek and then translated to the more flowery old English.
Chapter XIV.—The prayer of Polycarp.
They did not nail him then, but simply bound him. And he, placing his hands behind him, and being bound like a distinguished ram [taken] out of a great flock for sacrifice, and prepared to be an acceptable burnt-offering unto God,
looked up to heaven, and said, “O Lord God Almighty, the Father of thy beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the knowledge of Thee, the God of angels and powers, and of every creature, and of the whole race of the righteous who live before thee, I give Thee thanks that Thou hast counted me, worthy of this day and this hour, that I should have a part in the number of Thy martyrs, in the cup of thy Christ, to the resurrection of eternal life, both of soul and body, through the incorruption [imparted] by the Holy Ghost. Among whom may I be accepted this day before Thee as a fat of thy Christ, to the resurrection of eternal life, both of soul and body, through the incorruption [imparted] by the Holy Ghost. Among whom may I be accepted this day before Thee as a fat
Literally, “in a fat,” etc., [or, “in a rich”].
and acceptable sacrifice, according as Thou, the ever-truthful
Literally, “the not false and true God.”
God, hast foreordained, hast revealed beforehand to me, and now hast fulfilled. Wherefore also I praise Thee for all things, I bless Thee, I glorify Thee, along with the everlasting and heavenly Jesus Christ, Thy beloved Son, with whom, to Thee, and the Holy Ghost, be glory both now and to all coming ages. Amen.”
Comp. Matt. xx. 22, Matt. xxvi. 39; Mark x. 38.
Pat G saysNovember 27, 2011 at 3:29 pm
Christian Classic Ethereal Library is a wonderful resource!
Foxe’s Book of Martyrs by Foxe, John
John Foxe (or Fox, d. 1587): Acts and Monuments of the Church (commonly called Book of Martyrs), first pub. at Strasburg 1554, and Basle 1559; first complete ed. fol. London 1563; 9th ed. fol. 1684, 3 vols. fol.; best ed. by G. Townsend, Lond. 1843, 8 vols. 8o.; also many abridged editions. Foxe exhibits the entire history of Christian martyrdom, including the Protestant martyrs of the middle age and the sixteenth century, with polemical reference to the church of Rome as the successor of heathen Rome in the work of blood persecution. “The Ten Roman persecutions” are related in the first volume.
Foxe’s Book of Martyrs by Foxe, John
Edited by William Byron Forbush
This is a book that will never die — one of the great English classics. . . . Reprinted here in its most complete form, it brings to life the days when “a noble army, men and boys, the matron and the maid,” “climbed the steep ascent of heaven, ‘mid peril, toil, and pain.”
“After the Bible itself, no book so profoundly influenced early Protestant sentiment as the Book of Martyrs. Even in our time it is still a living force. It is more than a record of persecution. It is an arsenal of controversy, a storehouse of romance, as well as a source of edification.”