Tuesday, May 01, 2007

What do you want?

John (who was baptizing everybody) pointed Jesus out to some of his disciples.
36When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!" 37When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.

38Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, "What do you want?"

They said, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?"

39"Come," he replied, "and you will see." So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour.
John 1:37-39
I love this passage! "What do you want?" Jesus asks. Notice how the disciples don't answer him exactly. They imply that they want to see his apartment, but of course that's not really what they want.

Well, at least they didn't say, "Uh, is there a Shell station around here?"

What do they want? I think they want to see what's going to happen next. I mean, they've been following John, who then says, "There's the guy I've been sent to prepare the way for." John also said that Jesus "has surpassed me." With that kind of endorsement, which of John's disciples wouldn't want to see what would happen next?

But we know that both Jesus and John will be dead within a few years of this incident. John actually makes Jesus's death quite plain to his disciples; in verse 29 he said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"

How does a lamb take away sins? Lambs don't carry much meaning for us today, but the disciples would know, as any Jew of the time would: lambs get sacrificed. They die. Their blood atones for sin.

So when John said, "the lamb of God," the disciples would know right away that Jesus would die to "take away the sins of the world." And when Jesus said, "What do you want?" they might have wanted to know how this was going to work out. But they probably didn't want to say, "We want to see how you're going to die, umm, we mean, how you're going to take away the sins of the world."

Well, they got a whole lot more than they imagined. What an exciting time it was for them!

And it makes me think: if Jesus were to come to me today and ask, "What do you want?" -- what would I say? What do I want from God today, this week, this month? What do you want?

Not that we'll necessarily get what we want, but I think it's probably a good thing to know what we want, and to ask God about it. I suspect that he may be more willing to give than we are willing to ask.

These two disciples ended up asking to spend time with Jesus. I suppose that's one thing I might like, too. I don't mean praying and hoping someone's listening that I can't see, and listening and hoping someone speaks to me (but not generally in an audible voice); I mean talking with him like these guys did.

And I believe that this desire will be satisfied, that one day, that day when we see him as he is, we will be able to talk with him and hear his loving words.

And won't that be something!

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