Think of the first thing you would expect Jesus to say to his first disciples.
What did you come up with?
Me, I would expect a profound statement of his purpose, or a simple, easy to understand illustration portraying who he is and why they should follow him.
Was your thought similar?
Actually, Jesus didn’t pronounce himself as anything to his first disciples, John the Baptizer did. Nor did Jesus make bold claims or share any super astonishing truth.
Jesus first words to his first disciples were: What do you want?
“The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), ‘where are you staying?'” (John 1:35-38 ESV, emphasis mine)
Jesus sees them following him after John’s pronouncement and asks them what they want from him.
This may not strike you the same way it struck me and in fact you may think it’s pointless to point out, but to me, Jesus is asking a deep question.
These men were just following John, a crazy, sugar and bug eating woodsmen who was demanding repentance before the Messiah came. John declares to them that the one they have been waiting for is here, and “Behold” it’s Jesus. They then proceed to follow him, without asking. He walks by, they without hesitation run after him once they hear John’s proclamation.
They have made finding the Messiah and then following him their life’s goal. They don’t appear to have families yet, both are assumed to be young and they follow Jesus.
Jesus doesn’t mince words, he goes deep and asks a simple question: what do you want?
You’ve been waiting for the Messiah, have you? Why? What is it you expect or want from the Messiah? What would the purpose of you following the Messiah be? Do you want fame? Do you want glory?
It’s a profound moment for these guys. What do they answer?
They simply want to hang and be with Him. That’s how they answer. They say: “Where are you staying?” In essence, where are we going? Can we stay with you? Can we eat meals together? They want community with Jesus. They want to know Him. They want to ask questions. They simply just want to be with Jesus.
Reading this story yesterday made me wonder: what do I want?
If Jesus were to turn back and ask me what I wanted out of following him…what would I say?
Well, now, following him is kind of my profession…but that’s a cruddy answer and not what I want from following him.
I would hope my answer would be the same as the first two disciples (who were Andrew and the other was suspected to be John himself), which was: to know you, to be with you. Is that my answer? Not every day, no. However, I desire it to be.
So I leave it to you: What do you want?