“What do you want?” That’s a simple question, one we hear all the time. When you go out to dinner or to the diner after church, the waitress comes to your table and asks “What do you want?” Actually, they might be nicer: “Do you know what you would like?” When you answer the phone at dinner time and the annoying telemarketer doesn’t immediately get to his point, so then you ask, “Can you just tell me what you want?” What do you want? That’s the simplest of questions, but when that question comes from Jesus, it becomes the most profound of questions.
Jesus hears the crunch of gravel behind him and so turns around. Two guys named John and Andrew are following at a bit of a distance; they had heard from that John the Baptist guy that there was something special about Jesus. The Baptist called Him the “Lamb of God,” which is a strange thing to call someone, but it seems that John and Andrew got what the Baptist was trying to say. Jesus stops and poses that profound question, “What is it that you seek? What do you want?”
If I asked you that question, free of any normal context, how would you respond? What if Jesus asked you such an open-ended question, how would you respond? Surely you’d want to muster something profound like, “I want to know the meaning of life. What’s it all about? I want to understand how to square a good God with the bad things that happen in this world . I want to know what my future holds.”1 I have my questions. When did you know You were, well, You? How is that my cat Griffin has more facebook friends than I do? Did You ever fall in love? Did You ever hover around just to see if You could?
My questions back to Jesus seem a little off, but they’re no worse than what John and Andrew asked Him. “What do you want,” Jesus asked them. “Where are you staying?” they replied. “At first blush this looks like a blown opportunity!” They had the Son of the living God writing them a blank check, giving them the chance of anyone’s lifetime, and all they came up with was “where are you staying?” The might as well have asked Him what He did for fun or if He had a favorite color.
On second thought, maybe John and Andrew hit the nail right on the head. Jesus asked them what they wanted, what do you seek, whatcha want to know, and John and Andrew answered “You.” They said You, we want You. They wanted to know where Jesus was staying so that they could go wherever He was going.
“Where are you staying?” they asked. “Come and see,” Jesus answered. That’s a good answer, but what’s most intriguing to me is what Jesus didn’t tack onto His answer. He didn’t say, “I would like you to come and see, but first you must behold Me fully by faith.”2 Jesus didn’t say, “Come and see, but first you must right now accept Me as your personal Lord and Savior.” Jesus didn’t ask them if they knew if they were going to Heaven when they died or if they were reputable enough to have a piece of pie with Him. Jesus simply said “Come and see.” So they went, and in following Jesus, they witnessed the greatest events in human history; they served as witnesses to the changing of the world, and perhaps more incredibly, the changing of themselves. They laid eyes on the one thing, the one Person, that all of creation had always been looking for, and then they went and told everyone about it, starting with their family and friends.
So what is it that you want? An awful lot of us here in Bordentown are in want of some comfort right now. A lot of you knew Pfc. Ben Moore or know his family. Ben died well, serving the country he loved so much, after taking care of the people of this community for much of his young life. Ben went off to Afghanistan so we could be here safe and sound. Ben went off so that we could be free to seek the things that all people seek. Peace. Security. Assurance. Permanence. Forgiveness. Hope. Love. Have you sought these things? Have you found it here at Christ Church? If you have, it means that at some point someone said to you or your family, “Come and see.” And the truth of the matter is, that if you have found these things here, it is because Jesus is found here. Not only can Jesus give you security and assurance and permanence and forgiveness, He is those things. Jesus is peace, He is hope, He is love, and He has decided to stay with us here. We too are witnesses to the changing of the world, the changing of ourselves; we too lay eyes on the one thing, the one Person all of creation has always looked for. We too can tell everyone we know that we have found the Christ; come and see!
– the grand majority of this sermon was based on the meditations found in This Week.