When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them,

‘What are you looking for?’”  John 1.38

“What are you looking for?”  These are the first words Jesus speaks in John’s gospel.  The whole story is in John 1.35-42.  And it’s a fair question.  Jesus notices two strangers following him, and he wants to know what they’re up to.  After all, nobody likes a stalker.  He could have said, “What’s up?”  Or, maybe, “Hey, how’s it going?”  Or even just, “Shalom,” the customary greeting in the Middle East.  Instead, he says, “What are you looking for?”

Jesus isn’t asking this would-be pair of disciples if they’ve lost something.  He’s really asking, “What are you searching for in life?  What is the deepest desire of your soul?  What are you seeking with every fiber of your being?”  What are you looking for?

The individuals follow up Jesus’ question with one of their own: “Where are you staying?”  Seems like a question only a stalker would ask…or maybe a would-be disciple.  “What’s it like to live with you…to find life in you?  Is there room for us in that place…in your life?  Can we abide with you in that place?  Will you be our teacher?”  And with that, Jesus invites them to, “Come and see.”

When Jesus says, “What are you looking for?” he’s asking if we’re ready to follow him, too.  Are we ready to be his disciples, too?  If what we’re looking for is a self-help program or comfort or security or an assurance that we’re right in our beliefs or that we’re right with God, we might want to reconsider why we follow him.

But if we want to be with him day in and day out…if we’re ready to turn over control to him and let him guide our lives, he says, “Come and see.”  It’s an open invitation.  We can accept it at any time, but we have to decide if we can make that kind of commitment…if we can devote our lives to living the opposite of the world around us.

What are you looking for?  It’s the question at the heart of what it means to be human.  We are all looking for something.  I hope you can say you found what you’re looking for at FPC…that this is where you heard Jesus say, “Come and see.”  If you did, I’d encourage you to spread the word and invite an unchurched friend or two to join you.  Like we say every week: this is a safe place to be who you are…to ask questions and bring doubts.  And right now, I think that’s what a lot of people are looking for…but we can offer something even more…a relationship with the One who asks the question and invites us to come and see.