When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for? They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” John 1:38 (NRSV)
Each and every one of us is searching for meaning, purpose, and direction. We find ourselves asking the big questions of life: “Is there more to life than this?” “Does anything that I’m doing matter or contribute to something bigger?” “What does it mean to be truly happy?” These are the questions that rise to the surface of our thoughts and imaginations when we take the time to be still and silence the distractions and noise.
Jesus knew how to speak to the deepest desires of these early disciple’s hearts. As they found themselves drawn to him and following after him, he turned, looked at them with love, and asked the only question that truly matters: “What are you looking for?” I love the honesty and authenticity of their response. Perhaps surprised or startled by the directness of the question, all they can get out in response is a simple, “where are you staying?”
The greatest longing of your heart is met in the nearness and intimacy of Jesus. Though we look far and wide for things to give us meaning and significance, they ultimately come up short and leave us empty and hollow inside. I recently heard a story of a man who had reached unimaginable levels of success and cultural influence. Yet having done so, his only response was, “I wish someone had told me that when I got to the top there wouldn’t be anything here.”
If you’ve searched far and wide for the answers to the big questions in life but still haven’t found something to satisfy that desire, perhaps you can hear Jesus’s words afresh today. Into all the doubts, longings, and fears of every heart he looks with great compassion and asks, “What are you looking for?” May we, like these early disciples, see him in his beauty and wonder and desire nothing more than to be near to him. To join him wherever he is going and in whatever he is doing, knowing that it is there that life finds its meaning and true significance.
“Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life”(John 6:68).
Prayer: Father, help us to hear Jesus afresh and respond to his invitation to draw near. Amen.
Application: Consider attending an Alpha Course where you can ask the big questions of life, faith, and God.