Read: Job 22:1 – 25:6
Jesus looked around and saw them following. “What do you want?” he asked them. They replied, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” (John 1:38)
Relate: A block north of where I live is Main St. Some towns might have another street name but in each city in America I believe there is a street just like our Main Street right here in Binghamton. It gets a lot of foot traffic. A lot. I don’t care if it is sunny and seventy or negative 5 and the wind is battering against anyone not inside, there will be people walking on Main Street. I walk it most days for some reason or another myself.
When I picture the disciples following Jesus, I can almost picture it as an encounter on Main St. Jesus is walking down the street and these two guys are following behind. Each one is nudging the other to go approach Jesus. Both are hanging back hoping the other will have the courage to step up. I can imagine Jesus with a little smile on his face as he finally takes the initiative himself. He turns around and asks, “What do you want?” What a loaded question. On one level he is asking, “Why are you following me?” Even to that would they risk an answer? If they have been disciples of John they knew how John had been describing Jesus. He is an “ax is already at the root of the tree, baptize you with fire, separating the wheat from chaff, flee from the coming wrath” type of guy.
React: Is he annoyed? Is he curious? “What do you want?” What does he mean by that? It is a question that can have so many meanings and without seeing the physical nuances that could clue us in, we can only guess by how they answered. You see, Main Street isn’t the place for intimate conversation. If I bump into someone on the street I might know we will say hi. We might talk about the weather, or how our fantasy football teams did, or how bad Syracuse is going to beat up on Miami this afternoon. If the conversation was going to get a bit more serious, we would leave the street and go into McDonalds, or Cyber Cafe, or Dany’s Diner or one of the many other establishments here. If that was still too casual location, we would walk back to my house.
Jesus asked, “What do you want?” They answered, “Teacher (Master), where are You staying?” This isn’t the place, this isn’t the location where we can openly and honestly answer that question. There is more we want from You than a brief sidewalk encounter can fulfill. We want to go deeper than that. If we were to encounter Jesus, if He were to ask us, “What do you want?” How deep would we be willing to go? Am I just asking for a pay raise or friendlier coworkers? Am I asking for the bills to go away or maybe a nicer house or car? Or will I answer like the disciples? I want to go where You go. I want to be where You are. Take me to Your house.
God, I want You. I want more of You. I want to dwell, to tabernacle with You. Help me to hold loosely to the things of this world. Help me to keep my priorities in line that I will never botch the answer to that question with something stupid or selfish. You are all I want, and I give all that I am that I might be with You.
The thing is, Main Street isn’t the place for intimate conversations.