Friday, August 29, 2014

John 1:35-51

A shrill wail of the air raid siren pierced the clear, blue, morning sky in Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945. Observation planes had been seen overhead for many weeks as the Allied forces had been planning their method of attack against the unrelenting Japanese military. But this morning was different. Several lower flying planes moved across the sky without incident, but Japanese observers could spot two or three planes soaring at high altitudes above. All seemed to be calm.
Flash! In a burst of blinding light, like the flash of the brightest camera, a disabling radiance overwhelmed the sunlight and cascaded across the fertile, mountainside city. In the next ten seconds, as the blast wave followed after the engulfing light, nearly 80,000 citizens of the doomed metropolis were tragically killed. America and her allies had solved “the Japanese problem.” Within two days and after another 100,000 casualties, Japan surrendered to the will of the Allied powers.
This is the snapshot of domination. This is what triumph looks like. This is how you win. Or at least this is how most victories in history have been won. The way of success for most empires has been the same. Offer only two possibilities to your opponent: surrender or destruction. This is the way of most.
Understanding domination, we find something almost laughable when we get to John 1:35-51. Jesus has come to establish His kingdom. His arrival was not even noticed by the majority of the planets inhabitants during his entire time on the planet. He never made a brash entrance into the palace of the reigning monarchs. He never called to himself a massive military. He never referred to his followers as “the Lord’s Army.” None of these things. His first converts were not military generals, or princes, or religious leaders, or even wealthy businessmen.
Jesus chose fishermen. He chose seven of them from Galilee. He wasn’t looking for favorable legislation from political friends. He wasn’t looking for massive donations from wealthy patrons. He wasn’t even looking to amass a Super-Christian think tank to develop dominating advancement strategies. He gathered a group of friends, all who probably even attended the same synagogue with each other. They were just an under-ordinary crew that had grown up together and fished together.
This was His plan for attack. They wouldn’t carry swords of iron or steel. They will be equipped with His truth. Their foes would not be defeated into submission by death, but brought into submission with the hope of eternal life.
And to many, the strategy of Jesus seems ridiculous. That is, until you realize that He wasn’t relying on the innate ability of these fishermen. His reliance was set on one greater. His trust was not in what Paul would call “many wise, or many mighty, or many noble,” but in the power of God working through the faith-filled, weak ones.
Seeing this calling of the disciples, we should be encouraged. They may have been a hodge-podge crew of social misfits, but God would use them to turn the world upside down. It doesn’t matter what background or abilities you have. Jesus extends to all the hope of being an integral part of advancing His gospel. The power isn’t found in a seamless, corporate strategy or in a massive militaristic strategy of domination. The power is found in the Sovereign God who will use all those who come to Christ.

Food For Thought: Why do you think Simon Peter was so willing to join in following Jesus with Andrew? Nathanael with Philip? Who has God providentially placed in your life that perhaps you could call into serving Jesus like Andrew and Philip did?