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What Are You Looking For?

January 24, 2020

Scripture John 1:35-42

When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day.

John 1:38-39 NRSV

The presentation of Jesus throughout the Gospel of John depicts him as someone who is set apart from the people. There is something slightly mysterious about him. He even understands the substance and personality of individuals before they meet him or speak with him (John 1:43-51). And, when Jesus decides to gather disciples, as he did in this scripture lesson, there is no debate about following him: Jesus appears, chooses whom he wants to join with him, and they follow.

So, here are two disciples of John the Baptist, who decide to speak to Jesus. He offers a kind of open invitation: “Come and see.” One of these disciples of John switches to Jesus and follows him home. This is Andrew, and he brings in his brother Simon. And, Jesus renames Simon as Peter, which is based on the Latin word for rock. This is an important step for Simon, now called Peter. He becomes one of the strongest supporters of Jesus and his ministry. Later, he helps form the foundation of the early church.

Jesus knew that those who were seeking him, like Andrew and Simon Peter, were looking for something out of the ordinary. The disciples of John the Baptist wanted a Messiah, and slowly many people other than the disciples understood Jesus in this way. Their devotion and faith led them into new areas of spiritual growth and unforeseen areas of ministry through this man, Jesus Christ, who came before them. In Christ, they found what they were looking for.

So, in this time between Christmas and Ash Wednesday, what are you and I looking for? If we limit ourselves to our own experiences, or the advice of the rich and famous, then we effectively are putting our faith aside and ignoring the experience of the faithful through the centuries. If we pay attention, nearly everything will point to Jesus, who is God among us, Emmanuel. And so, the invitation still stands:

Come and see.

Stan Reid


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