As Jesus walked by, John [the Baptizer] looked at him and declared, “Look, it is the Lamb of God!” Then two of John’s disciples turned and followed Jesus. Jesus looked around and saw them following. “What do you want?” he asked them. They replied, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” “Come and see,” he said.
John’s Gospel is filled with images of “looking and seeing.” John invites his follows to “look” at Jesus to see him as the promised One. But what John didn’t know was that Jesus was not just the Jewish Messiah. He was God come-in-the-flesh, who would offer his life for the sins of the whole world. He invited his disciples to “look,” but there was far more to see than John could have imagined.
John’s disciples take his words seriously and leave John to follow Jesus. Jesus notices them following him and asks them a question. True to the questions throughout this Gospel, the question is both to be taken at face value, as well as understood as an existential question, “What do you seek?”
They answer plainly, “Where are you staying?” But what they can’t yet know is while they are following Jesus, they are going to be seeing things that bring them face-to-face with God incarnate. They have been invited “UP” to see God in the flesh, and they have been invited “IN” to the intimacy of daily walks, discussions, signs, wonders, and campfire meals – where Jesus will finally call them “friends.”
Years later John sits down to write the story about what happened after Jesus invited them to “come and see:” “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth…No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known” (John 1:14, 18, NRSV).
Lord Jesus, give us the eyes to see and the ears to hear your invitation to “come and see” the belovedness you have for us and all people. Amen.
Dialog discuss: The very first thing Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 4:18-19 was “Come, follow Me and I will send you out to fish for people.” He didn’t say “Come follow Me, and I will keep you huddled with other Christians singing songs feeling safe together,” or “Come follow Me, so you can hang out with primarily Christians and complain about how terrible the world is getting,” or “Come follow Me so you can have nice theological discussion with other Christians and deconstruct the church. . . ” So the first impression He gave His disciples was emphasizing that following Him meant being focused on other people who didn’t know Him yet. Dan Kimball, Pastor, Vintage Faith Church, Santa Cruz