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?" He said to them, "Come and you will see." So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas" (which means Peter). — Jn 1:35-42
To start with Peter, we begin with those who introdued him to Jesus. I love how this text starts out. John the Baptist was known for being eccentric and a little crazy, and I've been thinking a lot lately about how those who follow Jesus actually have to be a little crazy. So the fact that John is standing with two of his own disciples, sees Jesus walk by, and says, "Behold, the Lamb of God!" seems pretty in character with who John the Baptist shows himself to be. He was a man entirely driven on mission to preparing the way for Jesus; he poured out his life to gain followers for the coming Messiah, and when it was Jesus' time, he willingly gave over his own disciples to follow Jesus, because he knew that he was to be "a voice crying out in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord" (John 1:23).
Peter was, in many ways, the first among the disciples (which we will talk about at length later), but he was not the first to meet Jesus. John pointed out Jesus to two of his disciples, including Andrew (brother to Peter). I absolutely love that the first interaction between Jesus and these two disciples comes from Jesus-- he addresses them, asking "What are you seeking?". I imagine these two disciples of John, perhaps a little interesting and eccentric themselves, running after the man their own leader just pointed them to, close enough that he turns around and asks them, "What are you seeking?" Or, in another way, "What do you want?" Jesus wants to know our intentions from the outset.
There are a slew of dating apps that exist right now; it seems like every week, someone else has come up with a new way for people to connect and find each other. A lot of them are shallow and a bit creepy and I'm not sure that I would recommend any of them to you, but for the sake of an example, let me just tell you that the first communication between you and a connection says a lot. There are a lot of "hey", "hi, how's it going", "hello" messages that tell you relatively nothing about anyone. It's the same conversations I have with people on the elevator ride at work every day. There's one app where the woman has to make the first move, or the match disappears-- so the pressure's on me to come up with a first impression line. In all honesty, I deleted any of these apps over Lent, and don't have much of a desire to resurrect them, but for this illustration, I decided to re-download and see if I had some people waiting on my cue in "chat purgatory"-- and I did. So I sent 7 men the same intro line: "What are you seeking?".
Most of them didn't respond (if someone sent me that, not sure I would either). One responded with a confused "?". A couple of others responded with the type of girl they are looking for, or the kind of relationship they want to be in. Someone else turned the question on me, "What are YOU seeking?" (wasn't ready for that one!). Jesus is always speaking to people on a different level than where they are, so I'm not quite sure the disciples know how to react to Jesus' question. They respond to his question with an easier question, "where are you staying?" That's more tangible, safer, easier to answer. And yet he doesn't give them an easy out-- he says, you have to follow me.
From the beginning, Jesus says, "you have to follow me to find out what I'm really about". We have to follow him to know just who exactly He is, and what he's doing. Those first disciples got to literally chase after him and walk to where he was staying; we get to follow along in Scripture and see what Jesus is all about alongside those disciples. And from what they say and heard, they knew he was the real thing. Real enough that Andrew finds his brother Simon, and says, "We have found the Messiah". It doesn't take long for them to recognize, the found what they're seeking-- WHO they're seeking-- the Messiah. The long-awaited Redeemer of Israel. And so we end today just before Simon meets Jesus for the first time-- and again, Jesus speaks first with him. We'll jump in there tomorrow!
Dear God, Thank you for the privilege to study your Word, to learn about the life of Jesus through the eyewitnesses of his disciples. May our hearts continue to ponder the question, "what are you seeking?", in hopes that our answer may continue to be "Jesus". In Christ alone, Amen.
Dig Deeper: There's a lot to take in here. I encourage you to read over this passage again yourself, and see what else you can draw from it, and what the Lord reveals to you. Don't be shy to share in the comments below! And think on this: What are you seeking?