Sermon Illustrations

A young man emerged from the Metro train in Washington, DC. The date was January 12th of this year. He positioned himself against a wall beside a trashcan. By most standards, he was nondescript—a young white man in jeans, a long-sleeved T-shirt, and a Washington Nationals baseball cap. He removed a violin from a small case. He placed the open case at his feet, and he shrewdly threw in a few dollars as seed money. And then he began to play. For the next 45 minutes, he played Mozart and Schubert on that train platform. Over 1,000 people streamed by. But most of them didn’t even take notice.

Now, if they were paying close attention, they might have recognized the young man. Joshua Bell is a world-renowned violinist. They might have also noticed the violin he played—a rare Stradivarius worth over $3 million. Bell did this as part of a perception project arranged by The Washington Post.

Now, just three days earlier Joshua Bell sold out the Boston Symphony Hall—with ordinary seats going for $100. In the subway, Bell collected about $32 from the 27 people who stopped long enough to give a donation.

Would more people have stopped had they known who was playing that violin? Would they have listened and paid more careful attention if they knew it was Joshua Bell? Probably so!

In Hebrews chapter 2, the writer tells us that we need to pay more careful attention to Jesus Christ because of who He is and what He has done.