Jesus Loves Mr. Spock

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The Freudian Trio

This probably won’t come as a shock to many of you, but I’m a Star Trek fan. One of my favourite parts of the show is the interplay between Captain Kirk, the Vulcan First Spock and Doctor McCoy. Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, made a genius decision when he brought these characters to life. Each represents and brings voice to the different ways that people approach problems and life situations. Some people call this the Freudian Trio where you have two extreme opinions and one balancing one. Freud called it the Id (representing instinct, emotions and passions), the SuperEgo (representing our knowledge, rules and logic) and the Ego which is always trying to balance those two out.

Until they started messing with it in the third year, each episode was basically the same. Kirk, Spock and McCoy land on the planet with one red-shirted expendable crewman named Ensign Smith. Within the first five minutes the expendable Ensign Smith goes and pushes a button, steps on a rock, or does something to get himself killed and then the other three need to figure out what to do.

Kirk wants to charge in, shoot the bad-guys, get into a fight and kiss all the alien girls. Spock turns on his tricorder, takes a bunch of readings of the area, and begins to relate them to everyone around him. Then, in cold, calculating tones talks about the logical, mathematical way to solve the problem and how he can see how the bad-guy thinks the way he does. Then McCoy starts arguing with both of them saying that Kirk needs to listen to reason and Spock needs to grow a conscience.

But what ends up happening is that when they work as a team they get the job done. Kirk’s courage, impulsiveness and willingness to jump in and save the day works best when it is bolstered with the research, information and calculations of Spock, and the mediation of McCoy.

Jesus Loves Mr. Spock

One of the best things about studying these Apostles of Jesus Christ is realizing how different they are. We’ve already talked about men of passion in this series. Peter was a man of deep passions – he was definitely Kirk. We’ve also talked about James and John who were men devoted to Jesus and categorized by zeal and great love for Jesus. I used a lot of emotional words to describe those three.

Andrew isn’t a Kirk – he’s a Spock. And do you know what? Jesus loves Spock too. We often prize men and women of passion in the church. It’s way more interesting to watch preachers who bang on the pulpit and flail their arms, pacing around until they start crying or shouting – people love watching those guys. We look at the people who raise their hands in worship, who sway back and forth, who yell amen, who sing loudly and express themselves during the music – we know they’re connecting to God and enjoying his presence. We look for passionate leaders who can cast an exciting vision. We want teachers who are moved to their core by the story and let that passion flow out of them into their students. Most people appreciate seeing someone who is moved externally by what they believe in.

But is that the right way to relate to God? Should everyone relate to Jesus with external shows of affection, remorse, repentance, fear, joy? Is that the best way?

I would say that it isn’t the “best way” or even the “right way”. It’s not wrong either – it’s just the way they are built. Some people naturally express themselves – others don’t. And it’s not because they are repressed, or messed up, or afraid, or less in love with Jesus, or less into the worship music, or less full of the Spirit, or less sorry for their sins, or less in awe of God – they just express it differently.

I would say that Moses was a more logical, introverted guy. He certainly got excited at times – but he was attentive to detail, clearly lived by the letter of the law, was unsure of himself and needed lots of evidence from God before he stepped forwards to do what he needed to do. And once he had that evidence he lived by it.

Queen Esther may have been a logical type as well. She complied with the rules of her position – until they absolutely needed to bend the rules to save her people – and then she made a careful plan and made sure it was done correctly.

Nehemiah had passion, but kept it inside, was clearly good at planning and organization and making things work, was a common-sense thinker, and was extremely focused on what he was doing. When his enemies tried to sway him with false logic, he saw right through it.

Jesus loves Spock-type-people… and Spock-type-people love Jesus too – in the way that God built them! I believe Andrew was a rational, practical, analytical, intelligent guy – and I believe that Jesus knew that when He chose him. I believe Jesus chose Andrew and equipped Andrew as a gift to the Apostles. He was the logical Id to Peter’s emotional SuperEgo. The rational one to balance Peter’s passion. His personality made the team better.

Let’s take a look at some of the scriptures about Andrew and see why I say that.

Brief Intro

Let’s start with a few key points. Andrew’s name appears only 12 times in the Bible – four of which are in the lists of the Apostles. So we don’t know as much about him as we do Peter, James and John, but since God inspired every word of the Bible, I believe God has told us enough for us to do some educated surmising.

Andrew is Peter’s younger brother, also worked on the fishing boats, and was likely an employee of Zebedee, John and James’ dad. He was also a follower of John the Baptist until he met Jesus.

His name, Andrew, is Greek, which means “Manly” or “Brave” which was either his name, or his new name given by Jesus. Since Peter was named Simon (or Simeon) which is a Hebrew name, it could be that Andrew had a Hebrew name too, but we don’t know what it is. We do know that other disciples were known by others names interchangeably (like Thaddaeus who was also named Judas and Nathanial was probably also called Bartholomew).

I choose to believe that since Jesus had an awesome sense of humor, and since Andrew is Greek name for a Jewish kid, it was a nick name given to him. Jesus looks at the guy with the flow-charts and calculator, who plans his every move, who asks lots of questions before he moves forward, and says, “Now there goes a Brave, Manly Man!”*

*reader acetheist pointed out a weakness in this section in the comments. The humour I see is that Jesus sees through the human definitions of “manly” or “brave” and redefines it to include anyone, male or female, with any temperament, who is willing to follow Him no matter where He goes. The funny part is the same as when Jesus called Simon a “Rock” — using a nickname that doesn’t fit him yet, and perhaps one that others would raise an eyebrow at. Something of a cosmic inside joke (like when he chose Gideon the scaredy-cat to lead an army, etc.).

Andrews’ Character

Now, why do I say that Andrew was such a Spock type guy? Open up to John 1:35 where we can learn a lot about Andrew’s personality.

“The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, ‘What are you seeking?’ And they said to him, ‘Rabbi’ (which means Teacher), ‘where are you staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come and you will see.’ So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak and followed 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 1:35–42)

Just the day before John had been “bearing witness” to his listeners that Jesus was the one who “takes away the sin of the world”, who was greater than he, who when he baptized Jesus saw heaven open up and a dove come down and heard the voice of God, and said that “this is the Son of God”. (John 1:29-34)

So the next day, there’s Andrew and John once again and they hear their teacher, John the Baptist say “Behold the Lamb of God!” – which is Bible-talk for “Hey guys! Hint, hint! Stop following me and start following him!”

So they start walking behind Jesus, and Jesus turns and says, “What are you seeking?” which is probably a big theological, personal, spiritual question posed by a great teacher who knows the hearts of men. Their answer, probably spoken by Andrew first since we know that John is a follower after our talk last week, is: “Where are you staying?” A very practical question.

A Logical, Practical Guy

Go with me on this. Another person might get caught up in the moment, start laying down their greatest desires, and needs, and hopes and dreams… not Andrew. He was thinking: “If we’re going to get into this and do this right, we are going to need somewhere to sit, something to drink, and some note-paper.” Practical stuff.

Also, asking this question gives Andrew an understanding of the resources and the abilities of this new teacher of his. “Where are we at? Where’s our headquarters? What’s the budget?” More practical stuff.

It also gave him an understanding of Jesus’ needs. Andrew had some money and this was a way to say, “Do you need anything? Do you have a place to stay? Can I make you comfortable? Are you hungry?”

Very practical guy!

Verse 39 says that they came and stayed where Jesus was because it was the tenth hour – which by our reckoning would be about 10am and they spent the day with him. Andrew spent the day sitting and talking with Jesus, and then, after much conversation, he runs to find his older brother because Andrew has come to one striking conclusion: He’s found the Messiah.

A Problem Solver

Let’s look at a couple of other scriptures about Andrew to support this idea of him being a logical, problem solver.

In John 6 we read the story of Jesus feeding the 5000. Let’s start at verse 4:

“Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, ‘Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?’ He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, ‘Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.’ One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, ‘There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?’” (John 6:4–9, ESV)

We know what happens after that, right? Jesus feeds 5000 people with one kid’s lunch. Phillip and Andrew were kindred spirits in a way, each appreciating the constraints of reality, and we’ll talk about Philip next week, but look what Andrew does here.

He does something practical. He goes and finds something to help with the problem, and then asks another question. “Ok, Lord. Here’s what we’ve got. I made up a list – a short-list – of what we have to work with, and it’s just not enough. The logic isn’t working out. I want to solve this, and I’m giving you the facts here. It’s not going to work.”

Logical, practical.

Also look at John 12:20–22:

“Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.” (John 12:20–22, ESV)

After the Triumphal Entry of Jesus and all the uproar that caused, some Greeks – non Jewish folks – came up to Philip and said they want to meet Jesus. Uh oh. Problem.

Everyone wanted to meet Jesus. Crowds were pressing in. He’s teaching people. It’s likely these Greeks were what they called “God-Fearers”, people who worshipped the God of the Jewish people, but hadn’t been circumcised or followed all the Jewish laws. They weren’t even allowed in the inner court, but had to stay outside in the “Court of the Gentiles”. Where was Jesus? Was he in the inner court yet? Uh oh.

And these folks spoke Greek. Phillip probably spoke Greek which is likely why they came to him, and these guys may have spoken some Hebrew… what do we do with these guys?

Did they want to meet Jesus because they were attracted by the spectacle, or did they really want to get to know Jesus because He was their Messiah? Philip didn’t know what to do with these guys… so who does turn to to solve his problem? Andrew! There’s a guy who can solve some issues. There’s a guy he can dump all these details on, who can chew through them, and come up with a solution.

And Andrew solves his problem, and some new people get to meet Jesus.

Andrew was the go-to guy in the group to figure things out and get things done. He didn’t lop of people’s ears with swords, write beautiful books, and probably flew under many people’s radar – but he was a key part of the team of Apostles.

Andrew’s Death and Legacy

His logical, problem solving mind didn’t become an excuse for him to stay indoors and not spread the Gospel though. Andrew served Jesus in his special way for many years. Scripture doesn’t tell us how Andrew died, so presumably it was after the final chapter of Acts which was in about AD 68. Tradition and some non-biblical historical documents tells us that he was sent to be a missionary in the area of the Black Sea, setting up churches and bishops in that area, which is why he’s the patron saint of Ukraine, Romania and Russia.

They also tell us that when Andrew was martyred by crucifixion on a cross shaped like an “X” called a Saltire, in the city of Patras in Achaea (which is modern day Greece). That “X” became a Christian symbol and is now known as St. Andrews Cross.

Another tradition says that after being crucified Andrew’s body was dismembered and his arm ended up taking the 4000Km journey to Scotland – which is why he’s their patron saint and his cross adorns their flag (and the flag of Nova Scotia, which means “New Scotland”). They also, apparently have a tooth and his kneecap. Saint Andrew’s Day is celebrated on November 30th and is a national holiday in Scotland and they celebrate by having lots of fun and waving their St Andrew’s Saltire Flags.

He’s also the Patron saint of Barbados, Greece, Romania, Russia, and the Ukraine. Notably, and for unknown reasons to me, he’s also the patron saint of fisherman, gout, women who want to get married, women who want to have a baby, old women who didn’t get married, singers, and sore throats.

Applications

So there’s everything you ever wanted to know about the Apostle Andrew but were afraid to ask. I’ve drawn out some applications again, and I hope they will be helpful to us.

First, let’s thank God for Spock-type, introverted people who love to study, assemble facts, write flow-charts, gather information, and work things out logically. Let’s also remember that God created these folks to be this way and did it on purpose, for His glory, and loves to use them for the growth of his kingdom.

If someone is introverted and always in their head, sure they need to be encouraged to get out from behind their book now and again – but don’t try to turn them into a passionate, relational, extrovert. See them for who they are, love them for who they are, and include them in your ministry to use the strengths they have.

They don’t want to be greeters, or have a microphone, or stand up in front of people, or leading a small group – they want to take one person out for coffee and have a deeper conversation with them

They don’t want to be a deacon or on the board – they want to serve in the background, helping with the building, organizing the bulletin boards, making the database of people who need care, building the webpage, editing the bulletin. These are the unsung heroes of ministry.

They won’t speak much in a congregational meeting (unless God prompts them too and then watch out because they’ll come prepared!), but they would love to help with the accounting, grind out the detail work of a new ministry, do the shopping for the kitchen (because they know exactly where to go, and where to get the best deal), and figure out the organization of how things are going to work best.

They aren’t going to give emotional displays during worship, but they are great at powerpoint and working the sound board. If they play an instrument, they won’t be up front moving around a lot, but will be in the background doing an amazing job at supporting everyone else.

Stop telling them to smile and clap and wave – they don’t operate that way, it makes them feel like there’s something wrong with them, and they are worshipping just as much as anyone else. Plus, it looks kinda weird when they do it.

Let’s remember to thank God for these folks, use them how God intended them to be used, love them for who God created them to be, and not look down on them or try to change them into someone God didn’t build them to be.

Second, notice Andrew’s Missionary Mindset. He gathered up the facts, asked lots of questions, and processed things in his mind – but it didn’t stay in his mind. He didn’t just read and study and talk so that his head could be filled up and he could be smart. No, all of that knowledge and logic and problem-solving ability was for him to use!

When he figured out that Jesus was the Messiah, he didn’t keep it to himself. He went and got Peter and brought him to Jesus.

When he was presented with the problem of feeding the 5000, he looked around, used his brain to get the inventory, saw it was hopeless… but then brought the boy to Jesus.

When Philip came to him with the Greeks that didn’t know what to do, he figured out a way to bring them to Jesus.

People who live in their heads sometimes use their minds, dispassionate demeanor, intellect, and introvertism, as an excuse to avoid people. And I’m not saying that you need to stand in front of stadiums or be the life of the party – but God gave you that mind so that you can bring people to Jesus. If only one at a time. God gave you that talent, and you are to use it for His glory and the growth of His kingdom.

Third, you will leave a legacy – it’s up to you what it will be. I tell you all these weird and wonderful things about the things St. Andrew is patron of partly for fun, but also as a reminder that the way you live today has the potential to impact generations of people. Your legacy, what you leave behind, is up to you. Will it be a Godly legacy where you have shared the gospel with people who need it, trained people to be disciples of Jesus, are remembered as a courageous servant of Jesus, with a tender heart, and a love for others?

How will you be remembered? Your character and your deeds today will be found out in the future. No one will have any secrets. When you are dead, they will read your books, your journal, your e-mails, look at your bank-statements, gather up all your stuff, talk to your workmates, your friends and the people you went to church with – and tell stories about you. What will your family find? What stories will they tell? How will you be remembered?

3 thoughts on “Jesus Loves Mr. Spock

    acetheist said:
    November 19, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    I agree that love doesn’t have to be displayed in a way that’s passionately emotional to be love, and so I thought I would like this post until I stopped at the part about Andrew’s name, where you imply that planning and caution are contrary to being manly. First of all, I don’t know if we can verify whether being rash and impulsive were part of the masculine ideal in that era and in that part of the world. Regardless, upholding that idea is arbitrary and sexist, and reinforcing arbitrary societal norms is not something I can see Jesus doing. Last of all, I was very confused for a moment there because where I come from, being emotional is seen as a feminine thing and being logical is seen as a masculine thing. That’s how illogical sexism is — it doesn’t even make sense within the context of itself.

      Pastor Allan Descheneau responded:
      November 19, 2013 at 3:02 pm

      Hopefully the little asterix you inspired makes that section clearer. Thanks so much for that!

    […] been in this section a few times over the past weeks since it contains the calling of Peter and Andrew, but as we keep reading we see the call of Philip and Nathanael as […]

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