BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
In John 1:36, John the Baptist looked at Jesus as He walked and said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” (New King James Version). Andrew, a disciple of John, and one other disciple of John heard John’s testimony about Jesus and followed Him. Jesus then asked them, “What do you want?” (John 1:38a New Living Translation). The phrase “What do you want” also means, “What are you looking for?” as used in some Bible translations, such as the New Century Version, Complete Jewish Bible, and GOD’S WORD Translation. The New King James Version uses the phrase “What do you seek?”
Andrew and the other disciple of John answered Jesus, “Where are you staying?” Jesus then went on to show them His abode, and from about 4 pm, they remained with him the rest of the day. He must have fed them spiritually. They were so satisfied that Andrew left Him to bring his brother, Simon, whom Jesus called Cephas (A stone) (verses 41-42).
What do you want, coming to Jesus? What are you looking for, following Jesus? Are you looking for a relationship and fellowship or are you merely 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 tell Jesus 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.
Herod was a curiosity seeker. Luke 23:8 says, “Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he had desired for a long time to see Him, because he had heard many things about Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him” (New King James Version). That was when Pilate sent Jesus to Herod after Jesus had been arrested and brought before him. He realized that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction and sent Him to him when he was in Jerusalem. Herod questioned Jesus with many words, but He didn’t answer him. Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked Him, dressed Him in an elegant robe, and sent him back to Pilate (verse 11). Herod was not interested in the message of the Kingdom of God that Jesus preached. He only wanted to see Him out of curiosity because of the miracles he had heard that he did. He thought he could see him perform some miracles.
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 and they both went to tell Jesus. The Bible does not tell us what the motive of these Greeks was or if they were able to see Jesus. We don’t know if they just wanted to satisfy their curiosity, learn from Him, or ask Him questions.
The miracle seekers
In John 6, the Bible says that after Jesus had gone over the Sea of Galilee (the Sea of Tiberias), “Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased” (verse 2 New King James Version).
In verses 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 (verse 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). Many people today seek Jesus for bread!
In Luke 6:17-19, a great number of people from Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon came to hear Jesus and be healed of their diseases. He healed them all. Signs and wonders or miracles are part of the gospel, as Jesus said of His ministry in Luke 4:18-19, quoting from Isaiah 61. But seeking miracles without seeking Jesus is wrong. True disciples are different from miracle-seekers.
Jesus said to the Canaanite or Syro-Phoenician woman, whose daughter needed healing, that healing was the children’s bread (Matthew 15:26; Mark 7:27). Desiring miracles is not wrong. But people should not chase miracles or give miracles more priority than the salvation of their souls, which is the greatest miracle. They should desire and develop intimacy with God.
Some people came to trap Him
Some people also came to set a trap for Jesus to say something that they could use against Him. They asked Him questions, not because they wanted to know the truth, but to put Jesus in trouble. The Pharisees, the Sadducees, the scribes, and the Herodians were in this category.
In Matthew 16:1, the Pharisees and Sadducees tested Him by asking Him to show them a sign from heaven. Jesus 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” (verse 4 New King James Version). He didn’t show them any sign because He knew they were hypocrites, as He called them in verse 3. Also, Luke 11:16 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 it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not, just to entangle Him in His talk, catch Him in His words, or seize on His words (Matthew 22:15; Mark 12:13; Luke 20:20). But Jesus knew it was a plot to set Him against the Roman government or the Jewish people, depending on the answer He gave. Therefore, He didn’t give them a yes or no answer.
Also, when the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him the woman caught in adultery and asked 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. He told them that any of them, who had no sin, should throw a stone at her first. They left, condemned by their sin. “When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more’” (John 8:10-11 New King James Version).
Some people didn’t want Him
In Matthew 8, after Jesus had healed the two demon-possessed men in the country of Gergesenes or region of the Gadarenes and the demons cast out of them entered the pigs, causing them to perish in the sea, the Bible says, “And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their region” (verse 34 New King James Version). They were against Jesus because of their economic loss. They didn’t come to receive His message but to plead with Him to go away. They didn’t want Him. Jesus left this Gentile region.
Also, in Luke 9, when Jesus sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for His arrival, the people of the village did not welcome Him because He was on His way to Jerusalem. Jesus’ disciples, James and John, asked if He wanted them to call down fire to destroy them but Jesus rebuked them and they went to another village (verses 51-56).
The true disciples came for relationship and fellowship
God wants to do miracles in your life but it’s wrong to seek miracles here and there without the salvation of your soul, fellowship with God, or carrying your cross daily and following 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 say a similar thing. As Jesus said, he who does not take his cross and follow Him is not worthy of Him (Matthew 10:38).
God wants His children to be miracle workers, not miracle seekers. 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. Believers should be miracle workers – channels of God’s miracle power! However, they will still experience miracles. God will give them good things in answer to their prayers that agree with His will (Matthew 7:7-11).
Why Jesus called the twelve disciples
Jesus called the twelve disciples so that they might be with Him – that was His priority. Secondly, so that He might send them out to preach the Good News and have the power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons (Mark 3:14-15). 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 – His Word? (Ezekiel 3:1-4).
Take the yoke of Jesus yoke upon you and learn from Him, as He says in Matthew 11:29a. He spent the bulk of His years of ministry teaching His disciples – pouring Himself into them. No wonder Paul’s utmost desire was to know Him (Philippians 3:10).
Jesus said that even though 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. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Matthew 7:23 New International Version). Note the phrase “I never knew you.” Does He know you?
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, as Mary did. You must not be distracted from the Word, as Martha was (Luke 10:38-42). To sit at the feet of a teacher is a mark of discipleship – to learn.
In Luke 8:35, the mad man of Gadarenes, whom Jesus healed, sat at His feet. Apparently, he wanted to be His disciple; he didn’t just get a miracle and disappear. He begged Jesus to allow him to be with Him but Jesus told him to return home and tell people how much God had done for him. The man went to proclaim all over town how much Jesus had done for him (verses 38-39).
As Jesus said, you must not labour for the food that perishes, but for the food which endures for everlasting life which He would give you because God the Father has set His seal on Him (John 6:27). 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 (verse 51).
You must hunger and thirst for Jesus. Hunger and thirst refer to a strong desire. You must come to Him and drink. (John 7:37). Jesus will feed you with Himself, the Bread of life, and quench your thirst as you drink from Him (John 4:14).
Zacchaeus was hungry and thirsty for Jesus – he was desperate to see Him. Therefore, he climbed a sycamore tree to see Him. Jesus satisfied his hunger and quenched his thirst. Salvation came to his house that day because he also was a son of Abraham. Zacchaeus was lost but Jesus found him. He wanted to see Jesus but Jesus saw him! (Luke 19:1-10).
Conclusion: What do you want from Jesus – relationship and fellowship or only miracles? David said, “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple” (Psalm 27:4 New International Version). 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.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot 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 attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you 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 God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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