I love watch domino displays, you know the kind where you trip the first one and then it trips the next all the way down the line. It is amazing how complex these displays can be, and when they work properly all the dominos topple one by one. We take for granted that once started each domino is toppled by the one before and then it topples the one after creating a chain reaction. It reminds of our role as followers of Jesus.
This illustration stood out to me as I was study Jesus’ calling for this first disciples. Most follower of Jesus know the words of Jesus’ invitation, “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” This message was part of our Life Lessons series study of the life of Jesus. If you are interested, you can listen here (Listen here) as I spoke to our need to Live by Purpose. My heart was challenged by what we often miss in this passage. Let me share a few of those highlights.
I noticed the importance of the community around the Sea of Galilee. One scholar called it the “Cradle of the Gospel.” The more I study, the more I realized that I often under estimated the significance of the geographic location. The majority of Jesus teaching ministry took place in the out of the way place. What we often miss is that the Galilee region and especially the shores of the Sea were multicultural. The abundant fishing trade brought people from many diverse backgrounds to this location to live. And it is here that we see Jesus investing a major portion of His time ministering. I am reminded that Jesus loves all people!
I need to introduce my next observation with a question. Who would you say, based on gospel accounts is the “first” person (other than Jesus) to kick off the ministry of the New Testament church? Who was the first domino? Go ahead and take a few minutes to think about this and let me give you a hint that is probably not the person you are thinking. Now I realize that this speculative, but I think there are two guys that could qualify for this. The obvious one would be John the Baptist, but I want to talk about the second, that is relatively unknown. Have you come up with a name yet? Well, how about Andrew? Who is that you may ask? He is Peter’s brother. I did find it humorous that that is how he is often described in the gospels. It can be challenging to live in your sibling’s shadow. What makes him so important? Well, he is one of the first two recorded disciples that followed Jesus. More importantly, once he had an encounter with Jesus, he reached out to his brother Peter. And we know the rest of the story.
If you will allow me a little liberty, Andrew was the first domino to topple. He had and encounter with Jesus and he shared his encounter with others. Others, like Peter, also had an encounter with Jesus and would touch others. The process of the Gospel has continued until we were touched by someone. And others will be touched by us. Jesus could have reached all these followers by himself, but this gospel account we see God’s plan for followers of Jesus to reach others. And it all started by someone that is relatively unknown today. This has actually been true repeatedly throughout Christian history, that someone unknown was faithful to share and a soul was won that went on to touch many. I guess my question is “Will I be an Andrew?” How many dominos will be toppled because of you!
-Pastor Joe Parkinson