When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?”John 1:38
The first words that Jesus speaks in the Gospel of John turn out to be a question, and a very compelling one at that. Jesus asks this question to two of John the Baptist’s disciples, who have begun following Jesus. But I really think that he asks this same question to everyone who would follow Jesus. And the question is simply this: What are you looking for? To all who would follow Jesus, who are searching for answers, and who believe that they can be found in Jesus, Jesus asks this simple but profound question.
Why is this question so important? Because we often look for the wrong things, don’t we? Even in Jesus.
When Jesus first asked this question to those would-be disciples, he wanted to make sure that they were following Jesus for the right reasons. What were they really looking for? Were they looking for a military commander who would lead them out of the oppression they were experiencing from Rome? Were they looking for a teacher of the Scriptures who would help them understand exactly what they had to do to earn righteousness in God’s eyes? Were they looking for a miracle-worker who would heal them of their sickness? Jesus did not come to offer these things. John the Baptist knew what Jesus came to give us. When he saw Jesus, he said: “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) If this is what those disciples were looking for, then they have found it in Jesus. If they are looking for anything else, then they will only end up disappointed.
But, of course, the question for us is not just what were those first disciples looking for, but what are we looking for? What are we really hoping to get out of life? What gets us out of bed in the morning? What keeps us awake at night? When it comes right down to it, what are we really looking for? And, more specifically, what are we hoping to find in Jesus? If we are looking for anything other than the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, then Jesus will only be another in a long line of disappointments. On the other hand, if this is exactly what we are looking for, then the very next words that Jesus speaks in John’s Gospel offer a wonderful invitation to us all: Come and see.
He said to them, “Come and see.”John 1:39
Jesus is not hard to find. He just wants to make sure that we are looking for him for the right reasons. So, I invite you to spend some time in your personal devotions answering this question from Jesus. What are you really looking for in Jesus, what are you really hoping to get out of your life as his follower?
And then? Having reminded yourself of what you are looking for in Jesus, listen again to his grace-filled invitation to you: Come and see. Come to Jesus, and find rest for your souls. Come to Jesus, and find the light of the world. Come to Jesus, and find the Lamb of God who is your Good Shepherd, guiding you through life, restoring your soul, and offering everything that you are truly looking for. Come, see, and look no further. It is Jesus that you are looking for, just as it has always been.
This is another in my series exploring scripture’s most compelling questions. I share more about this series here: What Are Scripture’s Most Compelling Questions?