“Look”

GOSPEL | JOHN 1:35-42

35 The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!”  37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.  38 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?”  39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon.  40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.  41 He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). 42 He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).

Look, here is the Lamb of God!”

“What are your looking for?”

He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him…

The beauty of Lectio Divina is how it sets its own agenda. I was expecting to write a quick post about Lent being a call to discipleship, about bringing people to Jesus, but that was my agenda. Instead, I was captured by what I would normally overlook without a second glance: Jesus looking at Simon Peter. Reading again, looking is repeated three times in this passage, something else I would have completely missed.

It’s the second, center instance of looking that drew me in after re-reading the text: “When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, ‘What are you looking for?'” (John 1:38). Jesus asks me (and all of us), “What are you looking for?” in this season of Lent, and it’s a bit of an alarming question. John the Baptizer exuberantly proclaims to us, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” and we excitedly take off after him: it’s what we’re supposed to do, right? But Jesus knows where he’s headed. Jesus knows his purpose, and asks us to pause and reconsider: “What are you looking for?”

What am I looking for this Lent? Something outside myself. All of my classes are pushing me within myself – apparently that’s where all the “good stuff” is, if we’re trying to know who we are – but Jesus gives me permission to look elsewhere. Really, Jesus invites me to look to him: “Come and see.” (John 1:39)

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