Why follow Jesus?
Certainly Jesusâ€™ birth didnâ€™t answer that question for the Gospels. As his adult ministry begins and fellow Galileans become aware of him, no Gospelâ€”even Matthew and Luke where the nativity accounts are locatedâ€”has anyone say . . .
2nd Sunday after the Epiphany â€“ for January 16, 2011
When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” (John 1:38)
â€œHow â€˜bout that youngster from Bethlehem? Born under a star and now heâ€™s becoming a star!â€
â€œFirst some magi and their wow-factor gifts, and then later Jesus slips Herod the Royal Painâ€™s clutches, and now heâ€™s here among us. Sure, Iâ€™m gonna pay attention to him.â€
â€œIf Gabriel visited his Mom, well, an angelâ€™s blessings good enough for me to fall in step beside Jesus.â€
Why did people follow Jesus? In the Gospel of John, in particular, one answer was quickly provided. People followed Jesus because John the Baptist vouched for him and Jesus was quickly identified as â€œthe Messiah (which is translated Anointed).â€ How could one not consider following the Nazarene known asâ€”before the first chapter endsâ€”the â€œAnointed?â€ Drop everything! Letâ€™s get going!! Letâ€™s follow Jesus anywhere and everywhere!!!
So. Darn. Easy. Not because of his star-crossed start, but because of the Baptistâ€™s claim and good old boys like Simon saying, â€œWe have found the Messiah.â€ Really? Here Iâ€™m wary; here my faith is salted with doubt. I simply donâ€™t believe it was that easy for the first disciples. However, in the midst of all the â€œeasyâ€ decisions those first followers made, Jesus asked a question that was and is one of the hardest questions of faith . . .
â€œWhat are you looking for?â€
How did the first disciples answer that question? According to the Gospel of John, they never did. How would you answer it? How would I? I think, as a faithful doubter and humble believer, that following Jesus, in the first or twenty-first century, is all about asking that question and deeply, honestly listening for answers.
When people have followed me, that question has been pivotal. Continue reading →