What Do You Want with Jesus?
“O God who didst prepare of old the minds and hearts of men for the coming of thy Son, and whose Spirit ever worketh to illumine our darkened lives with the light of the Gospel: Prepare now our minds and hearts, we beseech thee, that Christ may dwell in us, and ever reign in our thoughts and affections as the King of love and the very Prince of Peace. Grant this, we pray thee, for his sake. Amen.” (Methodist Book of Worship, 1965)
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35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” 37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning 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 they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon. 40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).
The Great Tradition
“At once his disciples, who were present, after hearing his words, left John and hurried to go to Jesus about whom John testified. ‘When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, ‘What are you looking for?’” He did not say this out of ignorance but rather in order to give them an occasion to trust him. They immediately called him ‘Rabbi’ and showed their profound intention, that is, that they had been led to Jesus for no other reason but the desire to obey him as a teacher. And at the same time, they asked him where he lived, as if they wanted to come to him often. He did not point out a house but told them to come along with him and see, by giving them the space for greater familiarity and trust toward him.” (Theodore of Mopuuestia)
Prayer of Confession
“O Lord, do not be exceedingly angry, and do not remember our sins forever. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away from your holy presence. Forgive us we pray, and create in us clean hearts. In Jesus’ name. Amen.” (H. Burnham Kirkland)
“What do you want?” That was the question Jesus asked John’s two disciples. How about you… what do you want? Why are you following Jesus? What are you seeking? What are you looking for? There are different ways to ask this penetrating question, but it’s a question each follower of Jesus must ask himself or herself. In this case, these two disciples left the one they were following because someone greater was in their midst. Indeed, John the baptizer called this one, “the lamb of God.”
They asked where he was staying, indicating they wanted to be able to spend more time with him, learning from him. Jesus upped the ante by calling them to follow him… to actually travel and live with him. Could they have even imagined what effect following him would have in their lives? The transformation? The joy? The cost? And yet there was something about being in his presence which compelled them to not only leave their former teacher and follow Jesus, but to tell their friends all about this man, whom they came to understand was the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Let’s keep our hearts and minds open to the call of Jesus during this Advent season. Just as the disciples left everything to follow him, may we too find the courage and desire to seek Jesus, count the cost, and share his love with the world. This is the essence of Advent – preparing our hearts for the coming of the King of kings and the very Prince of Peace. In his name, we pray. Amen.
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Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path: (Proverbs 23:19)
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.