"...and Jesus looked over His shoulder and said to them, 'What are you after?'" John 1:38.
If Jesus asked you this question, how would you reply? Throughout His ministry Jesus encountered all sorts of people with one thing in mind-what He could do for them.
Jesus didn't disappoint. The sick were healed, the dead were raised and the hungry fed. Those seeking a religious or intellectual discourse heard authoritative teaching like they'd never experienced before. Jesus gave liberally except...those looking for a legalistic warrior king always left empty-handed.
However, there was one thing God wanted and is still in short supply of even today -relationship. Those pursuing Jesus then and now too often want something, not Someone.
"Not so!" you protest. "I made Jesus Lord of my life." (Hint: He already is Lord. We don't make Him anything, we just finally wake up to this fact). I agree that accepting His Lordship is very important, but what exactly does this mean?
Is Jesus your get-out-of-hell card? Some evangelism portrays Him as such. Is His purpose to fix life's problems, a divine handyman of sorts? When things are going well, He's the go-to guy. No, wait a minute, when life is swell we usually don't need Him. But when things are disintegrating around us, we run to Him. However, what does He want?
Relationship, intimacy, the restoration of fellowship with man that was God's original intent. He wants us. We want stuff.
In the cool of the evening of the Fall God went looking for his good friends Adam and Eve. He sought relationship with them still, however, He knew things on their part had changed dramatically. His question wasn't an angry, "What have you done?" (like mine would have been). Their physical location wasn't a concern. Where their with Him relationship was. How had sin warped their thinking?
"Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in you minds because of your evil behavior." Col. 1:21.
God's attitude toward Adam and Eve hadn't changed, but in their minds things were radically different. Sin didn't separate God from them, their thinking did. God wasn't hiding, they were.
Patient and relentless, God pushes to establish relationship with us. Despite our resistance, He'll take a toe hold anywhere He can and work from there. Why do we have to make it so hard?
We still feel like we're His enemy. Mentally we check off our "I am not..." list, realize we come up short and hide from God like Adam and Eve. So afraid of an angry, "What did you do?" we miss His loving, "Where are you?" He knows, but do we...really?
How about you? What's your relationship with God like? Is it a two-way conversation or do you quickly hand Him a to-do list and move on? If you asked Jesus, "What do You want?" how do You think He'd respond? Are you afraid of what He might say? If so, why? What if all He wants is time for you to get to know Him better?