Andrew’s Gospel

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The Good News According to Andrai

Mashiach’s Upper Room Appearances
as told by
Andrai bar Yonah

Based on Marcus 16:9-14 and Yochanan 20:18-31 (CJB)

Marcus reported:

When Yeshua arose at the onset of First Fruits (at twilight on the Shabbat following Pesach), He appeared first to Miryam of Magdala, from whom He had expelled seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him, as they were crying and mourning. But when they heard that he was alive and that she had seen him, they wouldn't believe it.

After that, Yeshua appeared in another form to two of them as they were walking into the country. They went and told the others, but they didn't believe them either.

Later, Yeshua appeared to the Eleven as they were eating, and He reproached them for their lack of trust and their spiritual insensitivity in not having believed those who had seen Him after he had risen.

Yochanan reported:

Miryam of Magdala went to the talmidim with the news that she had seen the Lord and that he had told her this. In the evening that same day, the first day of the week, when the talmidim were gathered together behind locked doors out of fear of the Judeans, Yeshua came, stood in the middle and said, “Shalom aleikhem!”

Having greeted them, He showed them His hands and His side. The talmidim were overjoyed to see the Lord. “Shalom aleikhem!” Yeshua repeated. “Just as the Father sent me, I myself am also sending you.”

Having said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Ruach HaKodesh! If you forgive someone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you hold them, they are held.”

Now T'oma (the name means “twin”), one of the Twelve, was not with them when Yeshua came. When the other talmidim told him, “We have seen the Lord,” he replied, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands, put my finger into the place where the nails were and put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe it.”

A week later his talmidim were once more in the room, and this time T'oma was with them. Although the doors were locked, Yeshua came, stood among them and said, “Shalom aleikhem!” Then he said to T'oma, “Put your finger here, look at my hands, take your hand and put it into my side. Don’t be lacking in trust, but have trust!”

T'oma answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

Yeshua said to him, “Have you trusted because you have seen me? How blessed are those who do not see, but trust anyway!”

In the presence of the talmidim Yeshua performed many other miracles which have not been recorded in this book. But these which have been recorded are here so that you may trust that Yeshua is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by this trust you may have life because of who He is.


Most of us here this evening have been Believers in Mashiach for some time now. Certainly many of us have known Adonai Yeshua for thirty or forty years or more. Maybe there are some here this evening who have only known Yeshua for a few months. And possibly there are some here who have not yet met Yeshua of Nazareth in a personal way.

But surely there is nobody here who does not know that we have come together in this place to remember and to celebrate the resurrection of the historical Yeshua of Nazareth. There is probably not one of who has not heard the story of the resurrection many different times and in many different ways.

Four of Yeshua’s talmidim (disciples) have left historical records for the Holy Community.

First there was Yochanan Marcus, whom we also know as John Mark. Marcus was a cousin of Yochanan bar Naba, or Barnabas, and a close friend and probably a talmid (disciple) of Shim'on Kefa, also known by his Greek name  Petros, or Simon Peter. His mother, Miryam, one of the “Marys” who were closely associated with Yeshua, was a woman of wealth and position in Yerushalayim, and perhaps the owner of the house in which the so-called “Upper Room” was located, maybe an inn or rooming house.

At the time of Yeshua’s resurrection, Marcus was probably a young lad of about twelve or thirteen who sneaked out of his mother’s house dressed only in his bed sheet and followed the disciples to Gat-Sh'manim[1] on the night Yeshua was arrested. The soldiers seized him, but he slipped out of the sheet and ran away naked (Mark 14:51-52). Later he was privileged to go on the first missionary journey with Rav Sha'ul and barNaba. Although he failed on that first mission, about a dozen years later he was faithfully serving with the great Shaliach, Rav Sha'ul.

The second to write of the life of Yeshua, certainly the most scholarly of the four accounts, was a Greek physician named Lucas who had become a convert to Judaism and traveled for years with Rav Sha'ul. In the introduction to his record, Dr. Lucas states that he alone has attempted to write a chronological account based on first-person interviews and careful investigative reporting.

The third account of the life of Yeshua was written by a Jewish Rabbi named Mattityahu Levi (Mattathias or Matthew) a former tax collector for the Roman government.

The last to write of the life of Mashiach was Rav Yochanan (John, the Elder), a former fisherman who was the son of Zevdai and Salome and the younger brother of Ya`akov (James, who also became a Shliach. Yochanan and Ya`akov were partners with Shim`on and his brother Andrai (Andrew) in a successful fishing business based in Capernaum on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. The stormy personalities of the two sons of Zevdai earned them the nickname, “sons of thunder.” Written probably fifty years after the resurrection, Yochanan's account was intended not as a detailed biography of Yeshua HaMashiach, but rather as a theological dissertation about the Son of God.

These four accounts have been left for the Holy Community and have been carefully guarded and preserved for our understanding by Ruach HaKodesh, and are available in your Bibles for review at your convenience.

This evening, however, I would like to introduce to you a man of whom you have surely read if you have read any of the four inspired accounts of the life of Yeshua of Nazareth. His name is Andrai bar Yonah, or Andrew the Son of Jonah. In modern English we would call him Andrew Johnson.

The Beloved Shaliach Yochanan (Apostle John) tells us that Andrai bar Yonah was a talmid (disciple or student) of Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptist). Immediately following Yeshua’s return from His temptation in the wilderness, He passed by where Yochanan was supervising the rite of tevilah (self-immersion), and Yochanan introduced Andrai to Yeshuah. Andrai became the first talmid of Yeshua ha Mashiach. Andrai spent the rest of that day with Yeshua listening to Him teach. On the following morning he became the very first Messianic evangelist when he went to find his brother Shim`on and told him, “We have found haMashiach (the Messiah)!” It was Shim'on bar Yonah whom Yeshua would later name Kefa, the Rock (translated into Greek as “Petros”).

So this is the Shaliach Andrai bar Yonah, and this is his account of the events of the Resurrection of Yeshua HaMashiach on First Fruits.


That evening of the first day of the first resurrection week will burn forever in my heart and my mind, not just in the olam hazeh (this life), but also in the olam habah (life to come).

We had come up to Yerushalayim, the City of Peace, for the celebration of the Pesach that year. I have to chuckle every time I say that phrase, “up to Yerushalayim,” for up is exactly what it is. The Holy City of HaShem sits high atop Mount Zion, towering some four thousand feet straight up above the level of the Salt Sea. Of course the city lies in ruins now, destroyed by General Titus only some 35 years after our Lord’s resurrection. But while it was still standing you could see the Temple from many miles away, especially when approached from the east at sunrise or from the west at sunset. The rays of the sun would strike the white stone and the gold overlays, and for a few brief moments it would shine atop the mountain as if illuminated by the very shekinah of the Holy One Himself, blessed be He.

On the Shabbat before Pesach we had entered Yerushalayim with ADONAI Yeshua riding on a donkey as a peace-bringing king entering a conquered city. The crowds were shouting, “Hoshanah, ben David,” “Please save us, Son of David!” — using the title that the prophets had used for the Mashiach. “Baruch haba b'shem ADONAI, melekh Yisrael!! ... Blessed is He who comes in the Name of HaShem, even the King of Israel! You in the highest heaven, Please! Deliver us!"” (Matthew 21:9,15 John 12:12-13)  Everyone was cheering and waving palm branches, and lying their cloaks in His path, as Yeshayahu (Isaiah) had said, “Make smooth a highway for our God!” (Isa. 40:3)

We were sure then, as was much of Yerushalayim, that the Mashiach had finally come to set us free from the yoke of Roman oppression and to establish the Holy One’s Kingdom on Earth. After all, both Yeshua and Yochanan the Immerser before Him had preached to all of Yisrael, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is now here!”

Looking back on it now, it all seems so strange, how the mood of the crowd can change so drastically in only four short days. I remember it like it was only yesterday, though it has been, what, nearly forty years now? Pesach came on the third day toward Shabbat (at twilight on Tuesday) that year, and on the Shabbat we entered Jerusalem all the Paschal lambs had been taken into homes all throughout the nation of Yisrael as Moshe required. (Exod. 12:3)

Yeshua told us to go to the home of Miryam and her cousin Yosef, whom we also called barNabas, and arrange for us to observe the Pesach Seder there. Miryam was a righteous and very wealthy lady who ran an inn, what you would probably call a boarding house in your time, and we met together there rather often. Her young son, Yochanan Marcus, was really a delightful young man, and we had all attended his Bar Mitzvah just the year before. On the other hand, he was full of life, and a real handful for his mother from time to time. But the young man loved to sit with us and listen to Yeshua as he taught us from the Scriptures. We all knew he would grow into a fine man some day, maybe even a Rabbi — who could know?

As we were eating the Seder that night, Yeshua did something very strange! As he gave the brachah, the blessing, over the second matzah, the Bread if Affliction, he said to us, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And after the meal, when He gave the brachah over the third cup, the Cup of Blessing and Redemption, He said to us, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the b'rit chadasha (renewed covenant), which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.” And then He told us that He would not drink of the Cup of Blessing and Redemption again until His Father’s Kingdom has been established.

When we heard that, our hearts leapt for joy, for surely He meant that He was going to establish the Kingdom any day now! Then we all sang the Pesach Hallel, the 136th in our Scroll of Psalms, and went across the Kidron Valley to pray together in the olive garden that He enjoyed so much. It was, next to the mountaintop, His favorite place to pray.

The events of the rest of that night and the next day are horrible beyond all imagination, and I do not wish to spoil your celebration of this Holy Day be recounting them to you now. It is enough to say that He was arrested by the Temple Guard that night and, after a mockery the Sanhedrin had the audacity to call a “trial,” they turned Him over to the Romans to be crucified. We were all frightened to death; now that Yeshua had been declared a criminal and a blasphemer by the Council, all our lives were in serious jeopardy as well. We all ran for our lives, just as the prophets had said we would, though most of us had regained some little courage and had come back to be with Him as He died.

All day long He suffered, hanging there between heaven and earth. And yet, true to the prophecy as illustrated in the Pesach Seder, just as the Kohen haGodal (High Priest) cut the throat of the chosen lamb in the Temple, Yeshua cried out with a loud voice, “It is finished.” And then He slumped over against the nails in death. At that very moment there was a terrible earthquake, and the veil in the Temple was torn from top to bottom by the very hand of the Holy One Himself, blessed be He. People began screaming all over the city, and we heard the Roman centurion cry out in terror, “Surely this was the Son of God.” And again we all fled, agreeing to meet later back at Miryam’s house.

We had two friends on the Council, however, secretly His talmidim (disciples): Nakdimon (John 3:1-6) and Yosef of Ramatayim (John 19:38). It was Yoseph who went to Pilate after Yeshua died, and took His body and placed Him in a new tomb that Yoseph had just had carved out of the rock in the beautiful garden behind his house. What a beautiful house, and what a beautiful garden; such a shame that it was only a few hundred feet from the crossroads where the Roman oppressors carried out most of their public executions.

But what I really want to tell you about was the events of that Resurrection Evening.

We had concluded our Shabbat evening Havdala service (the service in which we bid a fond farewell to Queen Shabbat for the week and “differentiate” … for that is what havdala means … between the sacred Shabbat and the secular days of the week) in the upstairs dining room Miryam’s boarding house, and were all reclining around the table discussing the events of the previous week. We were in no mood to properly celebrate First Fruits, I can tell you!

It was only about a half hour or so after sunset that evening when Miryam Magdala came running in all out of breath and crying, saying that the body of Yeshua had been stolen. She had said something about seeing angels in the garden who had said that Yeshua had been raised from the dead, but she had been so upset that nobody had paid much attention to her ramblings. And besides, everybody knows that nobody really sees angels much these days.

Kefa and Yochanan left the table and ran to the tomb in Yosef’s back yard. It was less than a mile away through the twisted streets of the city. Less than a half hour later, Kefa and Yochanan came running back saying that they had found His grave clothes undisturbed in the tomb, as though He had simply vanished right through them. They also had found his tallit folded in the prescribed manner, as only a Jew would have folded it, lying at the foot of the stone bench on which His body had been laid to rest. If someone had stolen the body, they said, surely the grave clothes would either have been unwrapped or taken with Him, and certainly no thief would have taken the time to properly fold his tallit. They had looked for the soldiers who had been assigned to watch the tomb, but they were nowhere to be found.

Yochanan told us that he and Kefa had gone around to the front door of Yosef’s house and disturbed Yoseph and Nakdimon, but neither of them had noticed any unusual activity in the garden. They both said that they did remember feeling a rather strong earthquake, though, just after sunset, probably another aftershock from Friday’s big quake, but neither of them had left the house in the past few hours. Then Kefa said he remembered that Yeshua had said one time that it was necessary for Him to die and to be raised up again. And another time He had said, “Destroy this temple,” speaking of His own body, “and in three days I will raise it up.”

Yochanan and Kefa then returned to the upstairs room of Miryam’s house, and had sent Miriam’s son Marcus (that was the name his Greek father had given him, though most of us called him called him Yochanan, his Hebrew name) to summon all of Yeshua’s talmidim together for an emergency meeting as soon as it became light. The traitor Yehudah had hanged himself the night Yeshua was arrested, and they had not been able to find T'oma anywhere, but the other ten of us, along with some of the others who had been with Yeshua, met back in the room just after sunrise.

When Kefa arrived for that early-morning meeting, he was so excited he was actually jumping up and down like a little boy. He said that Yeshua had appeared to him! It was true! He was alive, and He had said that He had forgiven Kefa for denying Him those three times. Of course everyone knew that old impetuous Kefa was always going off half-cocked about something or other — like the time when he and Ya'acov and Yochanan had gone up on the mountain with Yeshua, and Moshe and Eliyahu had appeared to them. Yeshua had been mysteriously covered in the shekinah glory, and the Holy One Himself, blessed be He, had actually spoken to them out of the clouds. And Kefa had shot off his mouth and said something really dumb, like, “Gosh, shouldn’t we build some sukkot (you probably call them tabernacles) for Moshe and Eliyahu!” (Matt. 17:1-4) People will probably be talking about that blunder for maybe even the next hundred years! Kefa had been so embarrassed that he thought he should die!

So we had taken Kefa’s reputation into account when he told us that he had seen Yeshua, and nobody really got very excited about it. In fact, Kefa’s excitement had just seemed to make our grief worse, and many of us were weeping openly.

But then just a few minutes later Miryam Magdala, Miriam the mother of Ya'acov, barNabas’s wife Salome, Yohanna, and some of the other women came bursting into the room saying that they had also seen Yeshua in the garden, and that they had actually touched Him, so they knew they weren’t seeing a vision or having an hallucination.

Maybe there was something to these resurrection stories after all. Maybe our hopes for the Messianic Kingdom hadn’t died with Yeshua. Maybe He was really alive, and was going to drive out the Roman oppressors and set up His kingdom here in Yerushalayim. If that were so, we knew that were going to have to get organized and spread the word.

We set a time to meet again later that evening, and we all left to go about our business.

Soon it was evening, and we had started our meeting with dinner. After all, what better way to discuss business than with a full stomach? We had to be very careful though, because rumors had started flying through Yerushalayim that the body of Yeshua had been stolen. And Yosef and Nakdimon had secretly sent us a message to be on the lookout for the temple guard. They had overheard some of the Kohanim Gedolim (Chief Priests) saying that they had bribed the Roman soldiers who had been guarding the tomb. They had given the soldiers a large amount of money to say that some of us had come during the night and stolen our Lord’s body.

How ridiculous! Nobody would ever believe that a handful of fishermen would dare take on a squad of Roman Legionnaires over the body of a dead Rabbi. But then, hadn’t those same priests just convicted Yeshua of heresy based on the testimony of false witnesses they had bribed? And the Romans just loved any excuse to crucify a Jew whenever they could! We just couldn’t be careful enough, especially for the next few days.

So here we were, sitting around in the dining room of our friend’s rooming house, waiting for the meeting to get started. Miryam’s staff hadn’t come in to clear away the dinner dishes and the leftovers yet. Suddenly there was a knock at the door, and I went to see who it was.

Klofah and his wife, Miryam, were standing at the head of the stairs, all out of breath. I let them in the room and quickly locked the door so that there would be no chance that the spies of the Council would see us meeting together.

Klofa and Miryam told us that they had just run almost all the way from Amma'us (Luke 24:1), about sixty stadia (nearly seven miles), to bring us some wonderful news! When the lunch meeting had broken up, they said, they had gone up to Amma'us to visit Miryam’s sister, and on the way they had been talking over the events of that morning. A stranger had joined them on the road, and had told them things about the Mashiach that they had never considered before. This stranger really knew the Scriptures — especially the Scriptures that were about Mashiach!

They told us that when they had arrived at Amma'us, the stranger had started to continue on up the road, but they had offered to buy Him dinner so they could listen to some more of His wonderful teaching. And then, as He had said the Brachah haMatzi, the blessing over the bread, they had gotten a good look at His hands! There were gaping holes that the nails of the cross had left in His wrists. Then they had looked more closely at His face and had seen the puncture marks on His forehead from the crown of thorns! It was Yeshua! And He was alive! And as suddenly as they had recognized Him, He had simply vanished! Disappeared without a trace! (Luke+24:13-32)

And they had run almost all the way back to Yerushalayim to tell us. Yeshua was alive and they had seen Him. Most of us were so excited would could hardly contain ourselves. But, on the other hand, some of us were very skeptical. And, on the other hand, some of us just could not make up our minds.

And then, all of a sudden, Yeshua was standing there in the middle of the room. Just like that! One minute He wasn’t there. The next minute He was standing there! I must tell you, that’s something that you don't see every day! And I must tell you something else; that’s something you don’t forget — not ever, let me tell you!

We stood there staring with our mouths hanging open. We didn’t know what to say. What do you say to your best friend who was alive, and then He was dead, and all of a sudden He is alive again? I want to tell you, you don’t just say, “Hello, Yeshua, and how was dinner in Amma'us, and would you like some dessert, Yeshua?!”

All of a sudden Yeshua just smiled that wonderful smile of His that we remembered so well, and He said to us, “Shalom alaychem! Peace to you!” And then he pulled up His sleeves, and he took off His sandals, and He opened His robe like a mother about to feed her hungry baby, and He showed us the deep wounds the nails had made in His wrists and in His heels, and the terrible gash in His breast where the Roman spear had pierced His heart. As happy as we were to see Him, His mother was ten times that happy, I want to tell you. And she hugged His neck and she kissed Him. And then we were all hugging Him and kissing Him and hugging each other and kissing each other. And some of us began singing psalms of praise to Abba HaShem, blessed be He. And many of us were praying, and many of us were shouting with joy, and many of us were overcome with tears of happiness. It was such a night as I shall never forget, not in the olam hazeh or in the olam habah!

As we slowly began to regain our composure, Yeshua smiled at us again, and swept His arms around as if to embrace the whole room as a mother hen gathers her chicks to her. And again he said to us, “Shalom alaychem. As Abba has sent Me, I also send you.” And then he went up to each of us and breathed on us. And as He breathed on us he said to each one of us, “Receive Ruach HaKodesh.” And suddenly we felt ourselves being filled with joy and a feeling of great power.

And then He said to us, “If you forgive the sins of anyone, their sins will already have been forgiven in heaven; if you retain the sins of anyone, their sins will already have been retained in heaven.” And so saying, he gave us the authority to announce the Kingdom of God and salvation to all men who would receive Him as their Lord and Redeemer, the Holy One of Yisrael.

The next day when we finally located T'oma and told him that Yeshua had spent the evening with us, he told us “Unless I see and touch the nail prints in His hands and put my hand into the wound in His side, I will not believe that He is alive.”

The following week we were again celebrating Havdala in Miriam’s upstairs room again, and T'oma was with us, Yeshua again appeared inside the locked room. “Shalom alaychem,” He said. Then He looked straight into T'oma’s face, and said to him, “Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here with your hand, and put it into My side; and stop being an unbeliever, and be a believer.”

As soon as Yeshua had said that to him, T'oma fell to His knees and said to Yeshua, “Adonai Yahweh `Eli!”  (John 20:28) addressing Him with that holiest of all Names that we Yehudim had always reserved for the Holy One Himself, blessed be He.

And Yeshua reached down and took T'oma’s hand and helped him to his feet, and said to him, “Have you now believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are they who have not seen, and still believe.”

Yeshua did and said many things and worked many wonders there among us in the next forty days before He returned home to Abba. And as Yochanan has said in his scroll of the Good News, I suppose that if all the other things that Yeshua did were written down, the world itself could not contain all the scrolls that would be written.

But I have come here to speak with you today so that you may believe that Yeshua is HaMashiach, Yisrael’s Messiah, the Son of God; and that by believing you may have eternal life in His Name.


And so here ends the testimony of Andrai bar Yonah, brother of Shim`on Kefa, and bond-servant of the Adonai Yeshua HaMashiach. And it is in Yeshua’s name that all the Believers gathered together here in this place invite you to receive Yeshua HaMashiach as your Lord and Savior, and to share with Him and with us the grace of God and the free gift of eternal life.

This message was first delivered by Dr. Sawyer at the evening service at
First Baptist Church, Mineral Wells, West Virginia, on Resurrection Day 1995.

__________

     1. Gat-Sh'manim (!mX tg, Gethsemane, or “oil press”), so named because the “garden” is to this day a grove of olive trees, in the midst of which was a press for processing the oil of those olives. [RETURN]

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