BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“Jesus looked around and saw them following. ‘What do you want?’ he asked them” (John 1:38a New Living Translation). The phrase “What do you want?” also means, “What are you looking for?” (New Century Version).
Andrew, a disciple of John, and one other disciple of John heard John’s testimony about Jesus and followed Jesus. Jesus then asked them the question: What do you want? In other words, He asked them: What are you looking for?
They simply answered Him with a question: “Where are you staying?” Jesus then went on to show them His abode, and from 4pm, they stayed with Him till the rest of the day. He must have been feeding them with spiritual meal. They were so satisfied that Andrew left Him to bring his brother, Peter.
What do you want, coming to Jesus? What are you looking for, following Jesus? Are you looking for a relationship and fellowship, or you’re only looking for a miracle? 1 John 1:3 says “That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ” (New King James Version).
Andrew and the other disciple didn’t reply to Jesus question that they were looking for a miracle; their answer showed they were interested in having a relationship with Him. That was why they asked Him where he was staying and they followed Him home. These two disciples and Peter later left John the Baptist to become the disciples of Jesus – they had a relationship and fellowship with Him till He died and even after His resurrection. What do you want from Jesus? Why are you following Jesus?
People came to Jesus for different reasons during His earthly ministry and many people still come to Jesus today for different reasons. Let’s see in the Bible different reasons people came to Jesus.
Some came to Him for curiosity sake
In John 12:20-21, certain Greeks who had come to worship at the feast in Jerusalem came to Philip, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip came and informed Andrew about their request, and both of them went to tell Jesus. The Bible does not tell us what the motive of these Greeks was. But could it be that they just wanted to satisfy their curiosity?
Some people came to Jesus for curiosity sake. The Bible says that after Jesus had gone over the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Sea of Tiberias, “Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased” (John 6:1 New King James Version).
After Jesus had healed the two demon-possessed men in the land of the Gadarenes and the demons cast of them entered the pigs causing them to perish in the sea, the Bible says, “The entire town came out to meet Jesus, but they begged him to go away and leave them alone” (Matthew 8:34 New Living Translation) .I believe they came to Him just to satisfy their curiosity – to see the man who had caused their land so much economic loss! They didn’t come to receive His message; they came to eject Him from their town! It was a Gentile town. They satisfied their curiosity and asked Jesus to leave.
Some people came to trap Him
Some people also came to set a trap for Jesus – to catch Him say something that they could use against Him. They asked Him questions, not because they wanted enlightenment, but to put Jesus in trouble. And they followed Him about everywhere to achieve this purpose. The Pharisees, the Sadducees, the scribes and the Herodians were in this category.
In Matthew16:1, the Pharisees and Sadducees came and tested Him by asking Him to show them a sign from heaven. Jesus, in His response, called them hypocrites, and said, “A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah” (Matthew 16:4 New King James Version). He didn’t show them any sign because He knew they were insincere. Luke 11:16 also says, “Others, testing Him, sought from Him a sign from heaven” (New King James Version). Did He show them any sign? No. Verse 17 says He knew their thoughts.
Jesus was asked whether to pay tax or not, just to put Him in trouble (Matthew 22:15-22; Mark 12:13-17; Luke 20:20-26).Matthew22:15 says, “Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk”(New King James Version). According to Mark 12:13, “Then they sent to Him some of the Pharisees and the Herodians, to catch Him in His words” (New King James Version). Luke 20:20 says, “So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor” (New King James Version).
Jesus knew their motive; He knew what they wanted from Him. He knew they had not come to receive the Word of life, but to actualize their grand plan to kill Him, by setting Him against the Roman government or against the people, depending on the answer He gave. Therefore, He didn’t give them a yes or no answer.
When the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him the woman caught in adultery to ask Him what He had to say about Moses’ command to stone to death such a sinner, it was not because of their love for righteousness. John 8:6 says, “This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him” (New King James Version). Jesus knew their hypocrisy. He didn’t condemn the woman. They left after He had told them that any of them, who had no sin, should throw a stone at her first. They left, condemned by their sin, and Jesus told the woman, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you? … Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (John 8:10-11 New King James Version).
Some came for miracles
In John 6:22-27, some people monitored Jesus’ to Capernaum after he had escaped from those who wanted to come and take Him by force to make Him king (John 6:15). After finding Him, they said, “Rabbi, when did You come here?” (Verse 25 New King James Version). But Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him” (verses 26-27 New King James Version). Evidently, they were looking for Jesus because of ‘bread and butter.’ That was why Jesus spoke to them that way. There are many bread and butter Christians today.
Luke 6:17-19 says, “And He came down with them and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases, as well as those who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all” (New King James Version).
Those who are looking for miracles only are not disciples; they are miracle-seekers. It is not that seeking miracles are bad, but they should not be the only reason for seeking Jesus. Jesus performed many miracles during His earthly ministry and many miracles are still being performed in His name today.
The Bible says, for example, that healing is children’s bread. Jesus told the Canaanite woman, whose daughter needed healing, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs” (Matthew 15:26 New King James Version). Mark 7:27 says, “But Jesus said to her, ‘Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs’” (New King James Version). Miracles are not bad or wrong. But people should not chase miracles or give miracles more priority than the salvation of their souls, which is the greatest miracle. Quoting from the book of Isaiah, Jesus said of Himself, “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD” (Luke 4:18-19 New King James Version).
The true disciples came for relationship and fellowship
Whereas God wants to perform miracles in the lives of His children, it’s wrong for people to seek miracles here and there without the salvation of their souls, without cultivating a relationship and fellowship with Him, or without carrying their crosses daily and follow Him.
Jesus, talking to His disciples, said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23 New King James Version). Matthew 16:24 and Mark 8:34 says a similar thing. According to Jesus, he who does not take his cross and follow after Him is not worthy of Him (Matthew 10:38).
God wants His followers to be miracle workers, not miracle seekers. Nevertheless,miracles will happen in their lives without struggles. Jesus said, “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” (Mark 16:17-18 New King James Version). That’s not talking about Christian leaders like pastors, but believers. Every believer should be a miracle worker – a channel of God’s miracle power!
Why Jesus called the twelve disciples
Jesus called the twelve disciples that they might be with Him – that was His priority. Second, that He might send them out to preach the Good News.They wouldn’t succeed at number two unless they first succeed at number one. But many today want to preach without first being with Him. What message will you go to preach when you haven’t been with Him enough to eat the scroll? (Ezekiel 3:1-4).
Jesus said in Matthew 11:29 to come and learn of Him. That was what He spent the bulk of His three and a half years of ministry doing in the lives of His disciples – pouring himself into them. Those whose targets were the miracles alone apart from the Miracle Worker went into oblivion. No wonder Paul’s desire was to know Him (Philippians 3:10).
Jesus said despite the fact that some people would claim to have prophesied, cast out demons and done many wonders in His name, He would tell them, “I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized” (Matthew 7:23 New Living Translation).
What do you want from Jesus – relationship and fellowship or only miracles?
You must sit at Jesus’ feet for you to be taught of Him like Mary did. You must not be distracted from the Word like Martha was (Luke 10:38-42). To sit at His feet of a teacher is a mark of discipleship.
In Luke 8:35, the mad man of Gadarenes, that Jesus healed, sat at His fee. Apparently, he wanted to be discipled by Jesus; he didn’t just get a miracle and disappear. In fact, after then, the man begged Jesus to allow him to be with Him, but Jesus released him and ‘commissioned’ him into an independent ministry. “Now the man from whom the demons had departed begged Him that he might be with Him. But Jesus sent him away, saying, ‘Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you.’ And he went his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him” (verses 38-39 New King James Version)..
Like Jesus said, you must not labour for the food that perishes, but for the food which endures for everlasting life. “But you shouldn’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that I, the Son of Man, can give you. For God the Father has sent me for that very purpose” (John 6:27 New Living Translation). Jesus is the bread of life – you must feed on Him (John 6:35, 48). He is the Living Bread, which came down out of heaven and by eating of this bread, you shall have eternal life.
You must hunger and thirst after righteousness – after Jesus (Matthew 5:6). Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37 New King James Version). Jesus will feed you with Himself, the Bread of life, and quench your thirst as you drink from Him. “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14 New King James Version).
Zacchaeus was hungry and thirsty for Jesus – he was desperate to see Jesus. Therefore, he climbed a sycamore tree to see Him. Jesus satisfied his hunger and quenched his thirst (Luke 19:1-10). “And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost’” (verses 9-10 New King James Version). Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus and Jesus saw him! He saw his sincerity and made Himself available to him.
What do you want from Jesus – relationship and fellowship or only miracles? David said, “The one thing I ask of the LORD — the thing I seek most — is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD’s perfections and meditating in his Temple” (Psalm 27:4 New Living Translation). Don’t desire His blessings but despise His presence. He wants you to be with Him. Seek first His presence and every other thing shall fall in place for you. The lines shall fall to you in pleasant places, and you’ll have a good inheritance (Psalm 16:6).
If you’re not born again, kindly take the following steps: *Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching, soul-winning church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you’ve said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You’ll need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching church in your area where you’ll be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May the LORD make you a Cedar Christian. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. May the LORD be with you.
T.O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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