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Monday, January 12, 2015

Today’s Reading | John 1:35–51

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. Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).

The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.” Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.”  (NIV)

“What do you want?” These are Jesus’ first words when introduced to our Gospel writer. Seconds before Jesus turned and asked that question, John the Baptist introduced him to future disciples John and Andrew as “Jesus—the Lamb of God.” That is a lot of information to take in! In five words, these young disciples are told that the Messiah has arrived, is standing right before them, and that his purpose is to take away the sins of the earth. Whoa! What do you suppose was going through John’s mind when the Messiah—the long-awaited Savior whom prophets have foretold—turns and asks, “What do you want?”

I have a memory of answering that startling question from someone so important, so long sought; I am immediately transported to my childhood. I am a tiny girl waiting in line to meet Santa. I am following my brothers, who knew exactly what they wanted! I thought I knew the answer as well, and rehearsed it as the line zigzagged around ropes toward the big man. Finally, it was time. One by one, the boys climbed up and recited their wish. “A camera, a telescope, a magic set, please!” Then it was my turn. I was all alone. Everyone was looking at me! These huge black gloves reached under my arms and hoisted me off my feet onto this giant lap. “What do you want?” said the man whom I never thought that I would meet face-to-face. The moment my feet left the ground I stopped breathing. It felt scary and too soon. I forgot what I wanted! After many, many seconds of silence, I mewed, “A camera,” and was swooped off the lap. My moment was over. “A CAMERA? What? NO! Wait, I wasn’t ready! I couldn’t even breathe! NOT A CAMERA!”

Dear God, it is unfathomable to think that my Savior wants to know my wants and needs, yet the Bible tells us this is true. Make me ready to answer you. May I live my life showing “what I want” to be an increasingly strong relationship with you. Amen.

Written by Katy Sinclair, Assistant Director of Music for Children and Youth

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