35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”
They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”
39 “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.
40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).42 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).
(John 1:35-42 NIV)
The Apostle John provides the details of John the Baptizer’s second encounter with Jesus. When the Baptizer sees Jesus, he again publicly calls Jesus the Lamb of God. With that public proclamation, two of John the Baptizer’s disciples (followers) begin following Jesus. Verse 40 tells us that one of the two followers was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. While the verse does not name the second person, it may well have been the Apostle John himself. In the other Gospels, John was usually grouped together with Andrew and Peter. And John never directly identifies himself in his Gospel account.
John provides some specific details around these two men following Jesus. At this time, they seemed to follow Jesus without invitation. John does not record anything about Jesus asking them to follow Him. In fact, verse 38 says that Jesus stops and confronts them and asks them what they want.
Jesus was not asking these two in an abrupt or abrasive manner. He was, however, asking in a direct way, to get to the heart of their unspoken request.
And what did the two men say? Their answer? “Where are you staying?” These two could have asked Jesus anything, like the meaning of life, how to get to heaven or even the best fishing spots for that season. Instead, they only asked Jesus where He was staying the night so they could hang out with Him.
John points out that this happened about 4 PM local time, which meant the day was winding down, and people were likely heading home and finishing their purchases at the market to fix dinner and have family time.
Notice Jesus’ kind response to the two men. He could have said, “Let’s catch up tomorrow”, or further questioned why they wanted to know. Instead, Jesus invited them to follow along. “Come and you will see”, Jesus said. That is all the encouragement the two men needed to follow Jesus.
Verse 41 alludes that these two men stayed wherever Jesus stayed the night. The next morning Andrew sought out his brother Simon, so he could also meet Jesus. When Jesus met Simon, he immediately gave Simon a new name (“Peter”, which means “Rock”).
Like Andrew and his friend, Jesus asks us what we want from Him. Do we want a healthy life or a comfortable life? Do we want success or status or financial independence? Or are we drawn to Jesus Himself, as Messiah, God with us? How will each of us reply when Jesus asks us what we want from Him?
May Jesus’ direct question be the focus of our worship and prayer for today and every day.