Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
Special thanks to Peggy Graff and her guests for providing this uplifting and inspiring addition to us in her Hymn-a-Day May series. I pray that these paired daily selections will uplift your spirits and feed your soul as much as it does mine.
John 1:35-50 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The First Disciples of Jesus
35 The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed[a]). 42 He brought Simon[b] to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter[c]).
Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael
43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49 Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.”
The first words Jesus speaks in the Gospel of John are important. John the Baptist is there to pave the way for Jesus, as he is in the other gospels. But, in John’s gospel he isn’t just the “voice crying in the wilderness.” He introduces Jesus personally. He is standing with two of his disciples and when he sees Jesus coming down the road, he says, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!”
When those two disciples of John hear that, they start following Jesus. Sensing that someone is following him, Jesus turns and asks, “What are you looking for?” Those are the first words that Jesus speaks in the Gospel of John and they set the stage for what follows. Everybody is a seeker in John’s gospel. That’s the presupposition of John—that we are all searching for something. We are all searching for the truth. We are all searching for the way to live. We are all searching for abundant living.
What are you looking for? This is an important question because searching and finding are important aspects of being a follower of Jesus, that is, Christian Discipleship.
Sometimes it’s hard even to know what we are looking for. Pam Abbey, who was pastor of the Faith United Methodist Fellowship in Fresno, California, wrote a column in which she described “those vaguely blue, out-of-sorts evenings when I find myself standing in front of the refrigerator with a spoon and a carton of ice cream. I want something. I’m not sure what, but ice cream will have to do. It’s sweet and comforting and plentiful and it takes my mind off whatever it is that I want but don’t have.” [Pamela J. Abbey, “Are We Enjoying Ourselves Yet,” Fresno Bee, November 1991]
When Jesus asked the two disciples, “What are you looking for?” They didn’t have an answer for him. Instead, they asked Jesus, “Where are you staying?” That’s a code phrase that you would ask a teacher to find out if the teacher would be willing to take you on as a disciple. They asked, “Where are you staying?” and waited for an invitation. Jesus said to them, “Come and see.” So they went with him, sat at his feet all day, till ten o’clock that night, according to the text, listening to Jesus, learning from him. They found in him what they were looking for.
What are you looking for?
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster