Flash in the pan experience can take us only so far if we want to change the fundamental things in us. We have to go deeper for it to matter. Transitions that matter for the person have to go from the inside out.
For two disciples of John the Baptist there were two days of transition that were ending one time of discipleship and getting ready for another. They saw the baptism of Jesus but for whatever reason following Jesus was not meant to happen that very day though much was illuminated about him. But for them a conversion of heart began.
But the next day, like many who hear the gospel and understand it, is a time of action to make conversion real or inaction that makes it all like a goose-bump that fades.
The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come, and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about four in the afternoon (John 1:35-38).
Look, the Lamb of God!– -Just like the passover lamb was the game changer in the time of Moses, so from this point forward everything changes. And just like the time of Moses where the lamb had to be consumed in all, so Jesus must be received fully. Jesus is being pointed to as one who would in fact give of himself fully. Such giving seems foolish to the world.
What do you want?– – Jesus asks them something that could be considered a test. Their response can say a lot of what they are looking for in light of the teaching they already had. When God draws us to himself in the context of initial or ongoing conversion, it is fitting to reflect of what we want and if it really matters.
Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?– – They come to Jesus on the right terms in obedience and are teachable to the Teacher. This is what matters. What is more, by asking the “Rabbi” where he is staying they want more than a quick answer but to abide, metaphorically, in the schoolhouse.
But coming to God with the requests that matter and are thus consistent with his nature is also a partnership initiated by God the Father.
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. (John 6:44-45)
Come, and you will see– – – Unlike many other times, Jesus does not answer the questions with a question. This could be seen as a matter of the simplest questions being the best ones generally.
To fully understand what is being covered here, consider the beautiful things in life that are appreciated in themselves. If I take out my keys, and one asks why, I answer that I am going to my car. Asked more, I could say which freeway. If I finally say that I am going to have coffee with my daughter, the question why would not make sense. This is because certain things, the fundamental goods, are without need of being put in a definable box. If Jesus was just somebody to do business with, then the meaning is dry. But this beautiful movement forward is both greatness in the person and a dynamic of the Holy Trinity at work. Jesus is The Fundamental Good and fellowship is an end in itself.
they went and saw- Taking these verses, one could think this is a small real estate story. But, considering they were sent off to “behold the Lamb of God” we can see these disciples took in that day something deeper about him. Ideally, the ongoing process of the believer is to keep your eyes open to God. This is where the believer stays in a state of purity. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). It is not seeing God’s plan but seeing God. Again, God is the Fundamental Good.
they stayed with him that day— To experience the passover lamb in the Old Testament is not a fast food experience but is communal. What we see here are the apostles John and Andrew coming to the man they call Teacher and connecting with him in a meeting of dwelling. The natural follow up for the convert is to join Jesus where he is and stay there.
There is something to be said about joining Jesus such as in the context of prayer: It is normal. That is to say, much of the lifestyle of being a Christian that has a relationship is not sensational. The day before this narrative was sensational. Some heard a voice and some perceived the Holy Spirit to come down on Jesus as a dove. But to an uninformed eye, these were just three men that were under the same roof, likely sharing a meal and talking. No flash and no snappy one liners.
On the hour of their decision to follow Jesus they believed with obedience in coming to to him, inquired, saw and stayed. Coming to Jesus is nice, staying is everything. Getting a quick question answered gives knowledge. But dialogue with Jesus grants wisdom. Such dialogue we can have today if we just ask and immerse ourselves in the presence of the Lord. The reader may ask if it is an audible voice to which I would say that is not necessary. This is because today and every day we can approach Jesus while Jesus approaches us and that is an end in itself. Jesus can be our Fundamental Good- – if we let Him.