“What do you want?” (NIV)
“What are you seeking?” (ESV)
“What are you looking for?” (NRSV)
John the Baptist had pointed to him and resorted to the provocative metaphor, “The Lamb of God!” As a result, two of his personal disciples left him in order to tail this One, this Incarnate Son of God. At twelve, the boy stayed behind at the temple because, as he explained to his parents, he needed to be about his father’s business. Surely by now he was on his mission! As would gradually become clear, he had come a long, long way to accomplish a great work. Wouldn’t anyone naturally be curious? Wouldn’t they naturally want to follow and see what he was up to?
Jesus noticed the two disciples of John had begun shadowing him. So, he stopped and turned to face them. Surely, this would be the historic moment when the most significant declaration of all time would go on the record! Jesus opened his lips and said,
“What do you want?”
What a wide-open question! Instead of spilling a torrent of thoughts and revelations of his own, he hands them a blank-check moment with limitless possibilities! The two men seize the moment, minds blazing with a deep, churning demand for knowledge. This is the one who knows everything because he was there putting it together from the very beginning! The men open their lips to speak,
“Where are you staying?”
Sometimes, you know, your imagination and courage just fail you. Maybe you’ll kick yourself every day for the rest of your life, remembering how you clutched and fumbled your chance.
On the other hand, Jesus did give them a response. “Come and see.” If that’s what you want to know, keep walking with me and find out. Who knows? Maybe you’ll think of some other questions for me.
And how about the way Jesus handled that moment? It stuck in John’s mind the rest of his life, so that he recorded it alone among all the Gospel accounts. Was Jesus so relaxed, so calm about fulfilling his purpose, that he didn’t just shove it in people’s faces every chance he had? I know what I’m doing and where I’m going. But what’s on your mind? You know, I’m actually interested.
You mean he didn’t tell everybody everything he knew about them the first chance he had? You mean he didn’t immediately start explaining how they needed to change and reform all they were doing?? You mean, he actually listened to them, first?
That’s not the way we do things. No wonder we didn’t see it coming.