Last week, we acknowledged the baptism of Jesus.
John hesitated, but Jesus quietly insisted. And so John baptized Jesus in the Jordan river. And then Jesus disappeared into the wilderness. He spent at least forty days there, fasting and then being tempted by the enemy of our souls.
At the end of that time, he was fed by angels.
And then he found a place to stay.
He came from the wilderness, from the confirmation of his calling, from being tested by the enemy and blessed by God.
And though we don’t know any details, though we can’t say “here’s where Jesus slept,” though we know that he said later that he didn’t have a place to lay his head, he was staying somewhere.
It would have been near where John the Baptist was working at that time. Because Jesus found where John was, and stopped in the distance, unobtrusive.
John looked up. And noticed him. And John turned to his own followers and pointed to Jesus. “Behold. The lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”
And then John tells them about the moment when Jesus came for baptism.
And Jesus goes on his way, and John goes back to work. A quiet moment, meant for a handful of people on the whole globe.
It wasn’t an insignificant moment, however. This statement vibrates with Old Testament history. Abraham and Isaac and the ram, Moses and exodus from Egypt, the creation of sacrifices.
In this statement, John was summarizing a couple thousand years, all of which led to this person, at the edge of the crowd, looking like he hadn’t eaten for weeks.
The next day, Jesus walks by again. John points him out again. Two of John’s disciples walk across the field, across the rocks, and start following behind Jesus, trying to catch up. Jesus turns and says, “What do you want?” They say, “Where are you staying?”
Jesus says, “Come and you will see.”
And they do.
On film, it would look like nothing.
There is no long speech from Jesus. There is no sermon.
But there is a simple question. What do you want? And a simple invitation. Come and you will see.
For us today, I’m pretty sure as we start attending to Jesus, as we wonder where he is, as we dig through the trappings and the structures and the formulas, Jesus turns and says, “What do you want?”
From a sermon for the second Sunday after the Epiphany, around John 1:29-42. Photo from Nepal.