They were disciples of John. Their teacher had readily confessed, “I am not the Christ. I am not Elijah, nor am I the Prophet.” When pressed to give an answer about his identity, their teacher had invoked words of the prophet Isaiah: “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.'”
Someone was coming, that much was clear. Their teacher had described him as “he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” Then one ordinary day, John drew their attention to an ordinary-looking man and said something extraordinary: “Behold, the Lamb of God!”
When they started following that ordinary-looking man as he was walking by, Jesus turned and asked, “What are you seeking?” (John 1:38).
Think about that. Jesus’ first recorded words in The Gospel According to John are, “What are you seeking?” In a very real sense, the question continues to be asked.
Are you looking for someone who will tell you everything you want to hear? Someone who will validate your self-centered lifestyle? A limitless fountain of blessings with limited demands on your loyalty? Are you looking for someone who will put a feel-good stamp of approval on your determinations to be the Captain of your own course? If so, there are plenty of candidates. The problem? Not one of them is Jesus. Lots of people are interested in Jesus as Genie-in-a-prayer-bottle, Jesus as Co-Pilot, and even Jesus as Savior; not as many are willing to submit to Jesus as Lord.
“What are you seeking?” Over the course of the next few weeks we’ll be making our way through this record of Jesus’ life as documented by John. We’ll see and hear where Jesus leads those who are willing to follow.
“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
“Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58)
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)
“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (John 3:36)
“What are you seeking?” They are Jesus’ first recorded words in John’s gospel. They form a good question, a question that continues to confront us even today.