It was probably 35 years ago now that a series of articles I had written was accepted by a devotional magazine. The topic was this– the first recorded words of Jesus in the Gospels. Many times during Lent, we hear messages on the Seven Last Words. I wrote about His first words. Something different. A new angle.
Never did finish that series. Never submitted, never published. Still have the drafts along with the original carbon paper that I used to make copies for myself! That was a long time ago. I’d still like to write those devotionals. How about we just spend a little time now looking at a few of Jesus’ first words in the Gospel of John?
John 1: 38–‘What do you want?’ That’s a strange question to ask someone. Isn’t it? I’d feel defensive having to come up with a really good reason or two. Maybe that’s the point. Jesus makes those two disciples of John the Baptist really dig deep to find why they want to get to know Him. What they really want from Him.
Must ask myself the same question. On any given day it could be something different. Jesus asks: ‘what do you want’? Go ahead–think out loud. Don’t candy-coat. Be honest and open.
When I first became a believer in Jesus, I had no idea what He could do for me. Or what He wanted from me. No idea. I was lonely. Afraid of what was ahead. What I wanted of Jesus was for Him to be close to me. To never leave me… in the dark. That’s all.
It was later that I started adding all the selfish-sounding stuff… for this, for that and some of those over there while you’re at it! I should have stayed where I was at the beginning of my Christian life. Just wanting Him. Nothing more or less.
Jesus with me sounded pretty good to someone who had no idea that God even cared. Those two followers of John the Baptist give a murky answer to Jesus’ question, wondering where He’s staying for the night. Jesus says to them–‘Come…and you will see'(verse 39). No direct answer. Nothing definite. Merely an invitation to get with Him and get ready for the experience of a lifetime.
If you want to know Jesus, tell Him that. And then wait and watch. He’ll be found…He’s not far from any one of us( Acts 17:27). You’ll find Him if you really want Him. ‘What do you want?’ is still His question for us today. And your answer?
Prayer: Lord, we need you. We want to be close to you and have you close to us. In Jesus, Your only Son. Amen.