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Jesus asked good questions.
On the Sundays in June we will consider some Questions Jesus Asked.

“What Do You Want?”

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon. – John 1:35-39

The opening of the Gospel of John parallels the opening of Genesis. Both begin with a creation narrative – “In the beginning…” In both accounts, God visits his people.

In both accounts, God initiates dialogue by asking a question. In Genesis 3, the first dialogue with God comes after Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit and hid. God asked, “Where are you?” A tender question, revealing the brokenness sin had wrought as well as the move of grace, reconciliation, and restoration that begins with God. God sought out the man and the woman, “Where are you?”

The first words John records from the lips of Jesus, Immanuel, God with us, are his words to the two disciples, “What do you want?” Or more literally, “What do you seek?”

In Eden, God sought out the man and the woman. Sin had disrupted the relationship, so God no longer walked with them in the cool of the day. They hid themselves. But God sought them out. God would still dwell with them, but not in the Garden. God would be present but veiled – behind the curtain of the temple.

But now, in Jesus, the Word was made flesh and took up residence with us. He walked with them not only in the cool of the day, but in the heat of the midday sun. He got dust on his sandals, got thirsty and sat down at a well in Samaria for a drink of water.

“We beheld his glory,” John wrote. The God who came looking for us in the Garden asking, “Where are you?” now comes in the flesh. He’s found us, so now the question is turned around. “What are you seeking?”

Imagine hearing this question today. Maybe you’re sitting with a good friend and colleague in a coffee shop. A guy walks in and places an order. Your friend notices the guy waiting for his order to be filled and he points. “Look, the Lamb of God!”

Your pulse quickens. You get butterflies in your stomach. You’re not sure what to make of it. But the guy sits down across the coffee shop. No one else is sitting with him. Hesitantly, you get up and walk over. You look a bit sheepish, but the guy looks at you and says, “What are you looking for? What do you want?”

It’s definitely Jesus.

What does your heart say? What do you say to Jesus?

Andrew and John were fishermen with a lot of work to do. But they were seeking something. They went out to follow John because they knew they needed something. Something was missing. When John pointed at the man walking by and said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” they had to investigate. They were missing something – longing. For what? For God to dwell with them? If that’s what they were hoping for, they wouldn’t be disappointed.

“Rabbi, where are you staying?” Where are you remaining, abiding. It’s a key word in John’s Gospel. Abide in me as I abide in you.

God sought the man and woman in the Garden. He dwelt with them in the Most Holy Place in the temple. But now here he was, dwelling with them, abiding with them. John notes it was four in the afternoon, so Jesus spent the whole day with them. He was with them. The Lamb of God spent that whole day with Andrew and John.

When you imagined the Lamb of God sitting at the table in the coffee shop, when you got up and found your way to his table, when he looked in your eyes and asked, “What do you want?” what did your heart say?

The Lamb of God dwells with you today. He invites you. “What do you want?” Tell him. You won’t be disappointed.

Jeff Sajdak

Jeff Sajdak has pastored congregations in Iowa and Michigan, and currently serves as Dean of Students at Calvin Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He delights in his wife and family, including three grandkids, as well as the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team and the Arsenal and Minnesota United football clubs.


  • Robert Hagedorn says:

    “In Genesis 3, the first dialogue with God comes after Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit and hid.”

    What do they eat?

    All they have to do in the story is eat allowed fruit that is not fruit from the tree of life that is not a tree. But instead, they choose to eat forbidden fruit that is also not fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil that is also not a tree, the nontree of life’s next-door neighbor nontree in the center of the Garden that is not a garden. So what do they eat?

    They disobey the commandment–their first commandment–to “be fruitful and multiply [in the Garden]” when they become one flesh incorrectly by eating allegorical fruit from the allegorical wrong tree in the allegorical Garden’s center.

  • Roger Boyd says:

    Putting myself into that Cafe picture I was moved to tears as I thought about what I want from Jesus. Thank you for setting the stage for me. I appreciate it the emphasis on God coming to us first.

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