“What do you seek?”

John 1:35-39
35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples.
36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”
37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
38 Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?”
39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).

Sometimes, it can be hard to explain the attraction of following the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. And when we first are drawn to Him, most of us would be hard-pressed to explain it even to ourselves. The desire to follow Christ is not born from our own desires, it is the will of the Holy Spirit, and while seeking Jesus may come from a deep-seated need, we may still not know right away why Jesus fulfills that need. Myself, I assumed I knew why I sought Jesus–emotional healing–but it turns out that the Lord had other plans for me than just healing. God called me to go beyond my healing, to bring the gospel of Christ to others just as it had been brought to me. It turned out that what I was seeking was not what God would have me find.

1 Kings 19:9
And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

What do we seek? What do we expect to find? Look at the people whom Jesus healed during His ministry on earth. They sought Jesus for physical healing, and what did they get? Their sins were forgiven!

Matthew 9:5
“For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’?”

Did those seeking healing truly know what they expected to find? Did they really come to Jesus seeking healing, or was something (or Someone) at work in their hearts? And why did Andrew follow after Jesus that day when John said “Behold the Lamb of God”? Look at Andrew and the other man’s response when Jesus asks them why they follow: they call Him “Rabbi.” They seek a Teacher, and they want to follow Him wherever He goes, wherever He is staying.

Matthew 8:20
And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

Matthew 16:24
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

Jesus didn’t have a permanent place to stay in this life. His time here was limited and the work He needed to do was very great. Where is He staying? Jesus showed the new disciples where He was staying at that time, and they stayed with Him the rest of that day. But would they stay for the duration?

John 6:65-66
65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”
66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.

No place to lay their heads, taking up their own cross, following Jesus down hard roads, being called apart from others by the Father–it was a lot to expect from people who did not know what they were seeking.

“What do you seek?” Jesus asks us all. Do we seek a Teacher, a Preacher, a Prophet? Do we seek healing? Do we seek respite from the storms of life? Do we seek the peace of the Lamb of God? Do we seek an earthly King to lead us to glory? Do we seek the Lion of Judah to rule in Jerusalem? Do we seek an easy route to prosperity or happiness? If you look at the Gospel accounts, you’ll see that Jesus offered very little to satisfy such desires. What He offered was something very different, for He came to bring forgiveness for sins and peace with God, not men. He told His followers to expect persecution and poverty, to expect rejection and opposition, to expect, in fact, to have to carry their own crosses to their own Calvary and to die for the living God.

“What do you seek?”

Is that what we expect? Do we expect to find an easier life with Christ? I can tell you from my own experience, it is easier in some respects–inner peace, blessed assurance, Spirit-led wisdom–but it is harder in most others–opposition from family, resistance from the community, leaving behind all that the world holds dear. And the closer we get to Jesus, the closer we get to that Cross. Only one apostle was present at the Crucifixion. Why? Because the others ran away when Jesus was arrested for being the Son of God! They avoided that Cross, knowing that their own futures lie there, too.

“What do you seek?”

If we would be honest and strip away all the worldly expectations we have of Jesus, what would we find? Would we find that what we seek is truly to be more Christlike? Or would we find there is nothing we seek from Him that is not of this world? Would we find that what we seek is petty when compared to the glory He offers through sonship to God? Or would we find we don’t have the courage to travel the road of the co-heirs of Christ, the road that leads to Calvary and beyond? It is not an easy question to answer, but when we do, we will find that it reveals our deepest desires in Christ.

When those two first disciples called Him “Rabbi,” it showed that they were still thinking in earthly terms. But when Andrew and the rest of the Twelve stayed after some of Jesus’ hardest teachings, then they truly showed their mettle. They showed then that they had come to a more mature understanding of what they sought from Jesus.

John 6:67-69
67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”
68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
69 “Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Andrew had told his brother Simon Peter already that he thought he had found the Messiah, the Christ. (John 1:41) But it wasn’t until faced with the hardest teachings–that not all will be called to Jesus and be saved–that they came to understand who Jesus really is and what they were seeking from Him.

“What do you seek?”

Deuteronomy 30:19-20
19 “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;
20 “that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”

“What do you seek?” Do you seek the way to serve your Father in heaven? Do you seek the truth of the Word of God? Do you seek life, and that more abundant? Do you seek to humble yourself before men and Christ, to become far less than you have ever been in order to become far more than you could imagine? Do you seek treasures in heaven and prosperity of Spirit? Do you seek to die that you may live? That is what Christ offers: a life of service and heavenly rewards, a life of truth and hard-won inner peace, a life of separation from the world, a life of holiness before God. He offers nothing less than that and so much more, but unless we seek these things we shall not find them.

Isaiah 55:6
Seek the LORD while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.

“What do you seek?”

Matthew 6:33
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

“What do you seek?”

Heavenly Father, Blessed Son, Holy Spirit, I seek Thee. No other thing do I seek than to serve Thee and to be saved by Thee from my own sin and to be resurrected unto new life. Thou art my shield and portion in this life, and Thou shalt me my light and full measure in eternity. Be Thou the treasure that I seek. Be Thou the greatest Presence in my life. Be Thou my Rock and my Redeemer. And may Thy path, however hard, be the only path I tread. Amen.

About Glenn Pettit

I am a deacon at The Well of Iowa, and a father and grandfather. Called to teach and to preach, I write fresh messages about the Bible every now and then.
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