The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” (John 1:35-38, NIV)
They were obviously religious men, quite probably those who knew the old prophecies and longed for the coming of the Messiah. They were followers of this strange prophet named John the Baptizer, the one called of God to prepare people for the coming of the Christ. And then one day John pointed out Jesus passing by and said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
Our English translation does not do justice to their importance. I do not believe John simply glanced over on the road and, noticing Jesus, casually commented, “Incidentally, that one I’ve been talking about? You might be interested that he’s just over there.” We know that on the prior day, John had first pointed out Jesus with the same words (John 1:29-34), even giving personal witness to how God affirmed them that Jesus was “God’s Chosen One.”
The two men who evidently were honestly seeking after God still needed to hear the question: “What do you want?” Jesus took the initiative to help them look more deeply into their own hearts, to examine their motives, and perhaps even get a glimpse of what following Jesus might mean.
Their response to Jesus may seem odd to us. But it is possible these two knew that the deep longing of their hearts could not be addressed with a mere roadside conversation. They needed a place of privacy and uninterrupted time to reveal their deep needs and to hear Jesus’ responses.
“What do you want?” God poses that same question to each of us and we, too, need to retreat into a time and place secluded enough to hear His answers.
So often I do not know what I want; I only know there is a longing that gnaws at my heart. Thank you for your Spirit who will not leave me alone but continually asks, “What do you really want?” And then you welcome me into your presence. Amen.
Questions: Why are you following Jesus? What do you want from Him? How will you hear His answers for you?
About the Author Marilyn J. Ehle