When you’re trying to figure out what you really want, the answer to the question is NOT a WHAT – but a WHO. The best things in life aren’t things.
What is it that keeps us going day in and day out? From where do we draw strength to go about our busy schedules and maintain our hectic lifestyles? What is the true source of the strength to keep living life?
One of the impacts of dealing with COVID was that we all had to face lockdown time. As the Lord has allowed the world to come to a near standstill, many people took time to reflect, to recognise the gaps in our lives, and try to find something meaningful to fill the gaping holes we found inside. Many of us took time to ask ourselves the question, “What do you want?”
Actually, that’s a question Jesus asked people from time to time. Today’s scripture comes from the first chapter of the Gospel of John, and tells us about one of those times.
The next day John the Baptist 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?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” “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. Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.
As we look into the Scripture I shared today, we find a powerful revelation that not only should give us pause, but should also give us hope that all is well. We see a couple of folks, just living their lives — and then Jesus passes by. Their attention is drawn to Him by someone who knew Jesus better than they did, and they decided to get closer and check Him out. Isn’t that just like God? Just when we think we have it all figured out, God comes on the scene and lays out the Gospel, the meaning of life, and all of the answers we seem to search for, although they have been here all along.
If Jesus asked YOU “What do you want?” – how would you answer that question?
Lots of people come to Jesus for a specific WHAT. Actually, you might have several answers, so you may need to stop and think for bit before you answered. What’s the WHAT at the top of your list? Healing? Finances? Employment? A relationship?
It turns out that what these two guys wanted was just to spend some time with Jesus and check out for themselves if He was who John had said he was. John had said that Jesus was the Lamb of God. These were Jewish men, and they knew about lambs. They knew lambs were set aside for sacrifice. They knew two lambs a day were sacrificed at the temple, plus personal sacrifices brought by worshipers. They knew at Passover each family had to have a lamb. In other words, they were well aware that lambs had a role in obtaining forgiveness. They wanted to figure out how Jesus fit into that concept.
So their answer when Jesus asked, “What do you want?” was to answer a question with a question; which is a very Jewish thing. They said, “Rabbi, where are you staying?” It was a request to spend time in His house, on His terms so they could get to know Him. And Jesus’ answer was an invitation to get close.
“Come, and you will see.” He makes the same offer to you.
It turns out that the best answer to the question “What do you want?” is not a “what” at all – but a WHO.
If you asked Jesus, “What do you want?” HIS answer would be demonstrated by his title – LAMB OF GOD. It’s a title that points to His sacrificial role.
Under the OLD Covenant, lambs were brought by men to God. Those lambs could only take away GUILT, but never remove sin. The blood of those lambs was shed for Israel alone.
But now Jesus has instituted a NEW Covenant, and He has completely turned it around. He is the Lamb of God, given by God to men. Now God has brought the sacrifice to the altar. His Lamb of God CAN take away sin, and in Him we can be justified and made pure. And THIS lamb is not sacrificed for Israel alone. He shed His blood for the whole world. Under this New Covenant whoever believes can come and receive.
So, If you asked Jesus, “What do you want?” HIS answer would be quite simple. WHAT HE WANTS IS YOU.
And He’s willing to give everything He has and is to prove it. And when Jesus asks you, “What do you want?” you’d do well to realize that WHAT YOU WANT IS HIM. Because when you have HIM – you will have everything He has to give.
When you have Him and He has you, then you get invited to spend time in His house, so you can get to know Him. I am convinced that life — REAL LIFE — is found just under the chin of the Father. By that I mean sitting in Hispresence, close to His heart, and under His careful watching. The lion cub in today’s illustration is sitting in the safest place in the world. Nothing in the animal kingdom looks forward to a fight with an enraged and powerful male lion. Our God is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. And He watches over His children.
There is something surreal about the thought of sitting where the cub sits, protected and provided for. Sitting under the watchful gaze of a loving father. Anything the cub can do is paltry when compared to the father lion. His power protects. His experience and wisdom provides.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
During this week, on this Holy Tuesday, let us take a moment to pause and reflect on the simplicity of the Gospel. Let us rest in the answers that are revealed in this powerful passage of Scripture. “Come, and you will see.”
Let’s not focus on signs or wonders, as wonderful as they are. Let’s not seek great theologians or human wisdom to understand God’s plan for us. Let’s not be satisfied by the voices of Bishops speaking about the things of God. Today, let’s deliberately step aside from the rat race called life, and listen to our Heavenly Father speak true wisdom. Christ – the power of God and the wisdom of God.
Is He not such a loving Heavenly Father that He would explain His intricate plan of redemption and the secret to a fruitful life in just one sentence? “Come, and you will see.” He is our source. He is our strength. He is our hope and our biggest fan.
Let’s make time today to sit in this for a moment; just simply sit with these words and allow the Holy Spirit to renew our minds. What an amazing and refreshing revelation we will see. It is in the simple things that we find our peace, our greatest joy, and the love of God that our souls so long for.
Perhaps Saint Therese of Lisieux says it best, “Our Lord needs from us neither great deeds nor profound thoughts; neither intelligence nor talents. He cherishes simplicity.” Actually, all the Lord needs from us – is US.
Take time today as a simple child sitting with a loving Father.
And when you have seen Jesus for who He is, you’ll find your response will be much like Andrew’s. You’ll simply HAVE TO tell someone. Andrew told his brother. And he brought him to Jesus.
THAT, my friend, is real life. It is good to be near God. Come see.