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.” — John 1:38-39
When I first read the above passage, I skimmed over it not thinking it was very important, but I did think it kind of strange of Jesus. Why would He say that? I questioned Jesus purpose here because I envisioned him asking the way I would have asked someone following me. I’d be very suspicious and speak in a suspicious tone which for me would be a little harsh and grating. I couldn’t imagine Jesus doing that. So I thought it peculiar.
Just recently a brother helped me realize the enormous importance of this question. Astonishingly it’s really the most important question we should ask ourselves when it comes to Jesus.
“What do I want?”
In the gospels, we see a myriad of people coming to Jesus, but most have a selfish agenda. They want to be healed. They want an estate settled. They want the dead raised. They want to trap Jesus. Very few if any want to know Jesus. They want his help. They want Jesus to make their life better, they want relationships restored or they want Jesus to stop messing with their livelihood, they want, they want, but do not want to know him.
When Jesus asked the unnamed disciple of John the Baptist and Andrew what they wanted he was being very direct to determine their motive. If they answered differently and wanted to be healed I’m sure Jesus would have accommodated them, but they didn’t. They wanted to know where he was staying. Therefore Jesus said, “Come and I will show you.”
Why is that important?
If you know where someone resides you can find them again. This implies they wanted to know Jesus.
They wanted to be friendly toward him and hang out with him, therefore, Jesus invited them to see where he was staying and Andrew got to know him personally. He was so excited after spending a day with Jesus he went and told his brother Simon and was able to bring him to Jesus.
Andrew developed a relationship with Jesus quickly just by asking a simple question, “Where are you staying?”
He knew where Jesus lived and thus was also able to introduce his brother Simon to him too. Neither Andrew, or Simon were seeking a miraculous event. They simply wanted to know Jesus and got much more than they probably imagined. Afterall, Jesus chose them to be his apostles.
Therefore I ask, “What is your motive? What do you want of Jesus?”
What could happen if your motive isn’t really to know Jesus?
Pay close attention to the two John’s disciples who followed Jesus, Andrew and another unnamed fellow. It seems that unnamed man’s motive must have been different from Andrew’s. I can’t say for sure what his motive was, but I can say what it wasn’t. He really didn’t want to know Jesus in my estimation. If that were true we would most likely know who he is today, but we don’t. He fell into obscurity. This alludes to him only wanting to know Jesus out of curiosity and since we know he was John the Baptist’s disciple he may have gone back to John. Whatever became of him from there on we simply don’t know.
God wants us to seek him. Jesus wants us to know God through him. However, in order to know God through Jesus, we must first know Jesus and he also must know us. If he doesn’t know us then we will find ourselves on the outside looking in on the day of judgment.
Knowing Jesus, therefore, is of vital importance and should not be neglected! It should be our main motive.
I want to be clear that Jesus didn’t drive anyone away no matter what their initial motive. He used each person’s, including Pharisees, teachers of the law, scribes, centurions, political leaders, soldiers and everyday people to teach them the most important spiritual agenda possible. Follow him, know him and be taught by him.
When I first started seeking God my life was in shambles. I was broke, separated, lonely, and hopeless. In that state of mind, I saw all my childhood friends had families, homes, good jobs, and all the trappings that go with success. I was envious. I messed up my life and now wanted what they had, but since I habitually made bad decisions I turned to God and the Bible to help me make right decisions. Not so much to know Jesus, but to have a better life,
Our initial agenda usually isn’t to know Jesus. We do look for him, but it’s usually for an intervention to make our life better somehow, and that’s ok. Jesus uses our motive to get us to where we need to be, knowing him.
No matter what your agenda may be when seeking Jesus it is a good thing because you’re going in the right direction. But most important, we need to know Jesus!
We want to know Jesus and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. —Philippians 3:10
Jesus is our great reward! —Genesis 15:1
What do you want?
Do you want to know Jesus and be known by him?