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!”John 1:35-40
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.
What do you want? How many times have you been asked this? Quite a number I should think! Maybe when ordering your coffee. Maybe when entering a room. Maybe when thinking about important life decisions.
What do you want?
Sometimes the answer to this question might be simple. Sometimes the answer might be more complicated.
In a coffee shop my answer to this question is generally, “a flat white please.”
The Lamb of God
If you asked me what I want in life, it might take me slightly longer to come up with a response!
These are the first words that Jesus is recorded as saying in John’s Gospel.
John the Baptist is out with two of his disciples when they see Jesus passing. John immediately recognises Jesus, and tells his disciples that this is the Lamb of God. In five words, John conveys the entire purpose of Jesus’ presence on earth. Here is the sacrifice that God has provided to atone for the sin of all humanity. Just as Jewish people had for generations sacrificed lambs to try to make themselves right before God, here is the ultimate sacrifice, the ‘lamb’ for the sacrifice that has been provided by God himself. Indeed, this ‘lamb’ is God himself! And here he is, casually walking past!
I’m not surprised that John’s two disciples were inspired to follow Jesus upon hearing that he is the “Lamb of God.” I doubt that they grasped the full enormity of what John was saying, but they were sufficiently interested to follow Jesus to see what he was up to.
When Jesus saw John’s disciples were following him, he turned to them and asked them, “what do you want?” A natural question to ask, I suppose, when you become aware that someone is following you. This being Jesus, though, I’m, sure that he wasn’t simply asking them why they were following him. I have no doubt that he was asking them what they really wanted. Were they happy with their lives? Were they happy with their jobs? Were they searching for identity? Were they searching for meaning? Were they searching for truth?
What do you want?
The men’s answer, therefore, seems rather simplistic. “Where are you staying?” Perhaps they thought that he was simply a teacher who was passing through and would be gone tomorrow. Perhaps they wanted to spend time with him before he departed. Maybe they had questions that they wanted to ask him. I suppose we can’t really be sure!
Whatever the reason that they chose to follow him, follow him they did, the first of many billions of people who have done so. How lucky they were to have had the opportunity to spend the day with him. Of course, they subsequently went on to spend many more days with him, and are undoubtably continuing to spend eternity with him.
How would you respond to that question, “what do you want?”
What do you want from life?
Do you want fame, celebrity status, wealth and earthly satisfaction?
Good luck to you.
Or do you want to know God, to have a relationship with him, to know his presence in your life, and to enjoy eternal life in his new creation?
Ask and you will receive
Jesus does not just want to know what we want, but is able to give it to us.
Later in John’s Gospel, Jesus says, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:7-8).
In the next chapter Jesus says, “very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive and your joy will be complete” (John 16:23b-24).
If we want want Jesus wants, and ask for it is his name, God will give it to us. What a remarkable promise!
Why? So that we display to the world that we, like John’s two disciples here, follow Christ, and so that we might be witnesses of the Gospel to those around us.
What’s more, if we want what Jesus wants, and ask for it his name, not only will it be given to us, but “our joy will be complete!” We will find true satisfaction because we have aligned our desires with Christ’s and will find that those desires are met. And that way lies true joy, true happiness.
What do you want?
Do you want what Jesus wants?
If so, ask for it, and it will be given to you.
Then you will find true joy!