Thursday, January 29, 2015

What Do You Seek?

                Do you remember that first time that you heard about Jesus? That moment when it hit you, that moment when you knew there was something to this whole Jesus thing that might be worth looking into. There was a draw, a sort of supernatural curiosity that was welling up inside you and you just needed to know more. Do you remember what you did? I remember what I did. I started to seek Him out. I started to ask questions. I started to read this book called the Bible. I started to go to church. I started to find people who said they were Christians and I began to seek out the answers to my questions. But none of the questions I had could be answered until I began to seek out Jesus for who He is.
                John the Baptist was a great prophet. He was the one who made the announcement that Jesus had come into the world and we needed to prepare our hearts for Him. He was the one who baptized the people in repentance so that they could turn their hearts back to God. He was the one who pointed Jesus out along the road, and was the first one to lead someone to Christ.
              
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  “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world! This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me. ‘I did not know Him, but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.’ And John bore witness, saying, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God. ‘Again the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.” John 1:29-37
                These two disciples had been listening to John for some time. They had heard him talk about this Jesus that was to come. They had listened to him prophecy about the Messiah, but they too only knew of Him. John states at the beginning of these scriptures that he didn’t know Him, that he only knew of Him. This reminds me of when I was on that seeking pathway to Jesus. I had heard a lot about Him, but I did not actually know Him. We had people telling us about Him, we had people sharing the gospel with us, but that was just what we heard. We hadn’t actually met Him, nor seen Him. We knew of Him, but we did not know Him.
                Notice that it wasn’t until John actually pointed Jesus out to these two disciples that they made the decision to follow Him. We must be willing to not only tell people about Jesus, but we must also be willing to point Him out. If all we ever do is tell people about Jesus, and we don’t ever show them where He lives, or who He is or how they can find Him, then all we have ended up doing is talking to the air. Not only do we need to tell people who Jesus is, but we need to show them that He is the Savior of the world. How we live our lives out before the world testifies to who Jesus is to us. If you want to point people to Jesus, then you must begin with the way you live your life. If we are pointing to Jesus then He will be the one we live for. He will be the one who lives through us. People will know we are Christians, not because we tell them we are, but they will see Jesus being lived out in us and through us. It is through our obedience to His Word that points people to Jesus. John was obedient to do what God had called him to do- it was through His obedience that he was able to point to Jesus and these two men believed his words.  
                It was not only John’s words that caused these men to follow Jesus; it was John’s actions as well. He looked at Jesus as He walked (John 1:36). He pointed Him out. When John’s words of who Jesus was were put into action through the pointing to Him, then these two disciples were able to make that choice to follow Him. How many times have we talked about Jesus to our friends, family and co-workers, but then they have been a part of our hurtful words, our climbing the ladder of success, or our unholy conduct in the world? We tell them that we are sinners, and that Jesus died for us. But we do not choose to live our lives in that truth. Instead, we tell them who Jesus is, but don’t show them how to find Him.
                “Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, ‘What do you seek?’ They
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said to Him, ‘Rabbi (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), ‘where are You staying?’” John 1:38
                Jesus turns around and sees these two men following Him, and He asks them a simple question, “What do you seek?” Notice He did not ask them whom they were seeking, but what they were seeking. Why would Jesus ask them this question? Why did Jesus ask them “what” instead of “whom”?
                What is an interrogative pronoun; it is used to ask a direct question in this particular context. Now, Jesus knows the hearts of all men, and He knew the hearts of these two disciples. I believe that Jesus was asking the question, not for His benefit, but for theirs. What were they seeking from Jesus? Was it because they believed He was truly the Lamb of God who had come to take away the sins of the world? Jesus is not asking them to know the answer; He is asking them to search out their heart motives for coming to Him.
                What do you seek? Was it their curiosity that drew them to Jesus? Perhaps they were curious to see who this Man was that John pointed to. Perhaps they just wanted to see if what John spoke was true or not. The point however is not why they came, but for what reason, what motive did they come? Were they seeking Him because they wanted to know Him, not just know of Him, but truly know Him? Were they seeking Him because they needed something from Him? Were they seeking Him because they craved something and thought He could fulfill their cravings?
                There are many reasons why we seek something or someone out. We seek a doctor when we are sick to help us feel better. We seek out a repair man when our hot water heater breaks and floods our homes. There are many reasons why we would seek out someone, but the question I believe the Lord asks of us today is “what are you seeking?”  This same question that Jesus has put to the two disciples we should be asking ourselves every day. What are we seeking?
                 Are we seeking the blessings and the gifts of God, but not the person of God? Are we seeking from Him a blessing but yet we are not willing to walk in obedience to His word? Do we come to Jesus seeking our will or His will? What are we seeking from Jesus today? Are we seeking to know Him or are we satisfied with only knowing of Him? Are we seeking to find Him or are we content to keep Him wrapped up nicely in that little box we have Him in? Do we say we need His help, but go and seek out ungodly counsel instead? Do we come to Him with our list of needs, deposit our fifteen minutes of devotion and prayer time, and then expect Him to fulfill all our requests? Do we seek Christ for what He can do for us or for Who He is?
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                Who He is, is much greater than the gifts He gives us. For Who He is, is seen through the gifts of love, mercy, peace, forgiveness and grace that we have been given. He owns cattle upon a thousand hills, and yes, He will supply us and give to us all that we could ever need. But He is not a vending machine. We can’t just put in our fifteen minutes of set aside time, press a few buttons in prayer and expect God to spit out what we have requested. Are we that selfish that we would take our God and all that He had done for us for granted that severely? Oh Lord, please, forgive us for our ungrateful hearts!
             What do you seek today from Jesus? Do you seek greater knowledge of Him or do you just want Him to finish checking off that grocery list of needs you have before you? We who truly and sincerely seek Jesus are in it for the long haul. We understand the sacrifice, and the obedience to His word that is required of us. We understand that if we “seek Him, we shall find Him, when we search for Him with all our hearts.” (Jeremiah 29:13) We know that when we seek Him, we will be given everything we need to accomplish this life, and when we seek Him only, we will in fact be pointing to Him instead of just talking about Him.
                “He said to them, ‘Come and see.’ They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour). One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found His brother Simon, and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.” John 1:39-41
                Notice that two disciples came and sat with Jesus where He was staying, but only one is mentioned ever again. These two disciples followed Jesus, and they stayed with him for one day. But Andrew is the only one that is mentioned as sticking around, and not only that Andrew went and brought his brother to Jesus as well. When we seek Jesus, He promises that we will find Him. And in finding Him we will be given great abundance to live this life on this earth, and the one to come. If we desire to seek Jesus for Who He is, and not for What He can give us, then we will want to stick around, and we will want others to know Him as well. Andrew sought Jesus, not what He could do for Him.

                What does Jesus tell us in Matthew 6:33? That we are to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” We don’t need to seek God for things, or needs, because He already knows we have need of them (Matthew 6:32). All we are required to do is seek Jesus for Who He is, and in the process we will become the pointers He needs us to be so that others can come to seek Him and know Him too. I pray today that we would examine our hearts before the Lord, are we seeking the “What” from Jesus or are we just wanting to seek Him? If we seek Him first, He will manage and care for everything else. Amen?