Tuesday, May 5, 2020
The emphasis the we put on words in a sentence can change the meaning of the entire sentence. For example, read the following two questions with the emphasis on the capitalized word.
- What do you WANT?
- What do YOU want?
The first question is a legitimate attempt to gather information. The second is a rude statement of derision.
When John the Baptizer introduced two of his disciples to the Lamb of God, they began to follow Him. When Jesus became aware of their presence, He turned to them and asked, “What do you WANT?” His actual words were, “What are you seeking?”
John 1:35-38 “The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?”
The more I study about the life of Jesus, the more interested I am in the questions He asked than I am the answer He gave to questions asked of Him. Jesus intentionally asked questions. Some cut to the core of man’s heart. Some questions were designed to open doors for future teaching. Most if not all of His questions met each person at the level of their understanding.
Jesus asked these two future disciples what they were seeking? That seems out of context to me. These two men had just been told that Jesus is the Lamb of God. Wouldn’t the appropriate question be, “Who are you seeking?” Shouldn’t Jesus have used this opportunity to make sure these guys are true seekers of the Messiah, and willing to be committed to His cause?
Jesus knew that in our human nature the what is much more important to us than the who, so that’s where he started. And He did it with out any hint of derision. He didn’t say, “What do YOU want?” His response to their answer proves it. They said they wanted to know where He was staying. He showed them. He invited them to stay with Him. He accepted them.
How about you? Is the what still more important than the who? Jesus understands, and will accept you. He will invite you in. You can stay with Him. But if you choose to follow Him, He will move you from the what to the who. Who Jesus is will become far more important to you than what Jesus can do.
Two years later, Jesus would ask these same disciples and the ten others who people said He was. After they answered with the world’s perspective, He asked them, “Who do YOU say that I am?” Their response was that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. The Who exceeded the what.
That is the goal of following Jesus – to move from the what to the Who. The world wants the what. The world seeks only benefits. But Jesus asks us “Who do YOU say I am?” Jesus wants us to move from personal benefits to permanent relationship.
So what are you seeking? Personal benefits or permanent relationship?