Monday, November 3, 2008

where you staying?

“The two disciples said to Jesus, where are you staying? Jesus said to them, Come and see.” – Jn 1:38-39

“Where are you staying?” It’s odd that this is the first question someone asks Jesus in the Gospel of John. The word translated stay, meno, means “to abide.” To be more accurate, meno has to do with a “continual presence” and with “being held up continually.” And so on the surface, these first disciples want to know where Jesus sleeps at night. But in reality, they’re looking for much, much more. They’re asking for much, much more.

Jesus’ response is interesting. “Come and see.” It’s hard to fathom the simplicity and graciousness of Jesus’ invitation – an invitation Jesus wants us to extend to others. For example, Philip tells Nathanael under a fig tree, “come and see” (Jn 1:46). A Samaritan woman tells her friends by a well, “come and see” (Jn 4:29). Before a dramatic healing, Lazarus’ friends tell Jesus, “come and see” (Jn 11:34). “Come and see” – these are simple words of grace. They’re words that precede new faith and new life (in the case of Lazarus). “Come and see.” These are words we must hear. These are words we must speak.

First, we must hear Jesus’ words, “come and see.” And we can’t forget our original question. “Where are you abiding (meno)?” Because Jesus gives a clear answer to our question. “I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide (meno) in his love” (Jn 15:10). Jesus stays with his Father. And Jesus invites us into the Father’s “continual presence.” Jesus wants us to be “held up continually” by the Father – just as he is held up continually by the Father. Ultimately, this is the knowledge Jesus wants us to “come” to, the reality Jesus wants us to “see.” And so Jesus tells us – “abide (meno) in my love” (Jn 15:9). “Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit” (Jn 15:5).

Second, we must speak Jesus’ words. Of course, we can’t speak a word we haven’t yet received. We can’t tell people to “come and see” something that we ourselves have no experience of. But these words – “come and see” – are the heart of authentic Christian evangelism. Evangelism begins when we are captured by a new reality, and evangelism happens when we invite others to “come and see” that reality, to be captured by that reality themselves.

FOR TODAY: Focus on part one – hearing Jesus’ words. “Come” to the Father’s presence where Jesus abides. “See” the oneness Jesus has with the Father. And then fathom the simplicity and graciousness of Jesus’ invitation. “Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me” (Jn 15:4). Ask Jesus that same question his first disciples asked him, “Where are you staying?” And hear Jesus’ answer like you’ve never heard it before. “With the Father. And with you, if you’ll let me. Now come and see this reality, and stay with me.”

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