* For an explanation of my weekly Bible blogging see the page on the right hand side. This is only the second of what I hope will be many “responses” to passages of the gospel.*
The next day he saw Jesus coming towards him and declared, ‘Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, “After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.” I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.’ And John testified, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.’
The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, ‘Look, here is the Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, ‘What are you looking for?’ They said to him, ‘Rabbi’ (which translated means Teacher), ‘where are you staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come and see.’ They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas’ (which is translated Peter).
At the Greenbelt festival in 2012 I took part in a guided meditation on the second half of this passage from John’s gospel. It was led, I’m pretty sure, by the Salesians of Don Bosco (I may be wrong…). The meditation began by setting the scene with John the Baptist and his followers, probably down by the Jordan river; the warm breeze rustling through our hair; the sound of the washerwomen slapping out clothes in the shallows. And then we see Jesus the Lamb of God approaching and we follow him. Perhaps we follow him to a house and settle down to listen to what He has to say. Perhaps it is our house and we pay host to Jesus, bringing him something to drink or eat.
Importantly, we were to go to the Lord with a question, a question to which we wanted an answer. We did not need to hear an answer, the meditation was not a failure if we didn’t hear an answer. One of those leading the meditation said that someone had gone to the Lord with a question and Jesus had looked at this person for a tenth of a second, and that was the answer.
I went with the question “How should I serve you?” and the answer I got was “Well, you chose to follow me”. Helpful? It didn’t feel like it at the time. Unexpected? Probably not. For this is the Jesus who says to those who follow him “What are you looking for?”
Some of us have chosen to follow Jesus. What are we looking for from Him? It’s a question worth asking. What are our motives? What do we look to Christ for? Who is He to us? What do we go to him for?
If we ask ourselves this question, the answer we get might not be one we expect.