“When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, ‘What do you want?’
They said, ‘Rabbi’ (which means “Teacher”), ‘where are you staying?’
‘Come,’ he replied,’ and you will see.’
So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him.” (John 1:37-39 NIV)
Jesus was simply walking by the group when his cousin, John the Baptist, called out “Look, the Lamb of God!” John did not elaborate. Jesus did not stop to chat or try to recruit followers. But something about that statement caused two of John’s disciples to turn their attention to the man passing by.
Something about Jesus caused them to get up, leave their group and begin to follow him down the road. This was very early in Jesus’ ministry. They did not know who he was. But he was compelling enough to draw them to their feet.
When Jesus noticed them he asked the question he asks every person who follows him.
What do you want?
These two men did not yet know that Jesus could heal the sick, give sight to the blind, and make the lame walk. They did not know that he commanded the waters and the demons. They did not know he could multiply bread and fish to feed the masses. They did not know any of that. If they had, they might have had a different answer to his question.
As it was, they only wanted to know where Jesus was staying. They wanted to be where Jesus was. That was enough.
Does this cause you to pause the way it does me?
God’s Word gives us a record of all that Jesus has done, can do, and promises to do. We read the witness of healing, the power of transformation, and the need for salvation. And I wonder how often knowing all of that gets in the way of simply wanting to be where Jesus is?
I think I follow Jesus all too often with a list in hand. When he asks me, what do you want?, I’m ever ready with my requests and needs. I know Jesus can do all I ask of him. He is powerful enough, compassionate enough, grace-filled enough, merciful enough, and even willing enough. But is Jesus doing for me the most important thing?
Three years after this first encounter, these same disciples are implored to remember to abide in Jesus. Abide. Dwell with him. Stay with him. Remain in him. The very thing they instinctively knew in the beginning. If they would do that, everything else would grow from there. They didn’t need to come with a list. They simply needed to be with him.
Seeking God first is at the heart of simplicity. God knows what we need before we ask. He desires to give us immeasurably more than we can even comprehend. We do not need a list. Instead, let’s be like those disciples. When Jesus asks, What do you want? let our answer be, I want to be where you are.
That is enough.