Two of John’s disciples approach Jesus. He asks them, “What are you looking for?” It is such a simple question, and yet a fascinating one coming from Jesus. John has already identified Jesus to his disciples as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Even so, Jesus does not presume to know what these two are looking for. He asks them what they want, rather than assuming He knows what they want. He waits for them to give a reply before acting on their behalf. He does not decide for them and meet a need they have not identified.
The two disciples reply with a question of their own, “Where are you staying?” Are they asking where Jesus is living, where He is sleeping at night, or in whose home He is receiving hospitality? Their inquiry is a bit a deeper and even more personal than that. They want to know where Jesus is staying, where He stands, how He is connected, and to whom. They want to know where He is staying, not just for a night or a week, but for eternity. On the verge of becoming His followers, they want to know who He is and what He is about.
His answer is an invitation, “Come and see.” They want some more information, but He invites them to see for themselves where He is staying. With that information, they might go on their way and think about what they have heard from Jesus at another time. The invitation brings a “now” to their inquiry. If Jesus answers their question, they can take the information with them, pondering it and discussing it from a safe distance. Jesus’ invitation opens the way to intimacy rather than distance. They come curious about who Jesus is, and He invites them to commit themselves to up-close observation. If they accept His invitation, they will answer their question with their own eyes.
What will they see? They will see the blind having their sight restored, and the lame walking. They will see water turned to wine, and the hungry being fed. They will see all that Jesus does, and hear what He says. In the same way, they will see and hear what is done to Him, and said about Him. They will see Him arrested, crucified, and resurrected. If they come, they will see where Jesus is staying, where He has been, and where He will always be.
This is the One who invites us to life. The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world invites us to come and see, so like Isaiah’s servant who neither extinguishes a dimly burning wick nor breaks an already bruised reed. Then having seen, we are invited to live “come and see” lives. To live lives that inquire about the needs of others and listen for a response, before presuming to already know what is needed. To live lives that invite others to come and see where we are staying. To live lives that open the way to intimacy with God and God’s people. To live lives which are inviting others to make commitments to Christ.
Jesus’ response to these two disciples of John is for them, and for us. It is both invitation to life and instruction about how to live life — come and see.