Monday, March 21, 2011

What Happens When We Ask Silly Questions?

If we were able to ask Jesus one question, face to face, I wonder what question we would come up with. We have the opportunity to talk with Jesus every day but I wonder how deep our conversations go. We tend to be a silly bunch of people who major on the minor things in life. We like to consider ourselves intellectual and maybe even a bit refined but what is it that we spend most of our time thinking about? We probably waste most of our energy and thinking on things that will quickly pass away. As we begin to consider the calling of Jesus' disciples, I find it almost comical the first question he was asked by them, showing themselves to be such deep thinkers.

Jesus had already been revealed to John the Baptist and it was the day after Jesus had been baptised. For some reason he was passing by that way again and when John saw him he pointed Jesus out to two of his disciples, saying, "Look, the Lamb of God!" I can only imagine how much John had been speaking of the Messiah to his disciples, teaching them everything he knew and preparing them for the arrival. Now, here he was, walking past them. Of course they were curious so they decided to follow him.

Who knows what they expected to see or to discover. It may have simply been a fascination to see this man John had been teaching them about for a while now, or maybe they hoped to catch a glimpse of something that would reveal his greatness to them. John said this was the Messiah but what did he mean by "The Lamb of God"? Clearly they had no plan in their head except to follow him. Imagine how surprised they were when Jesus turned and asked them what they wanted. If this was who John said he was, the Messiah had not only noticed them but he had asked them a question.

Imagine if you will someone who you consider famous; perhaps an entertainment figure, or maybe a politician, or even a famous pastor or Christian leader. You saw them walking down the street so decided to follow them out of curiosity. But after doing so for a few blocks they suddenly turn around and ask you what you want. It is an unexpected moment. I wonder what you would say. Maybe ask them what they think of events in the world, or what their opinion is of the political situation in the country, or perhaps if they are doing anything to help to people in Haiti or Japan. I doubt you would squander such an opportunity to ask them for an autograph or perhaps which hotel they are staying at. Maybe then you could understand why these two disciples of John responded the way they did in this unexpected moment:

When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”
They said, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” (John 1:37-38)

Here is the Messiah, the long awaited Messiah, and they ask him where he is staying. Of all the silly questions to ask. However, God never misses an opportunity to be part of our lives and Jesus turned this silly question into a wonderful opportunity. Instead of just telling them he invited them to join him, to see for themselves:

“Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”
 So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. (John 1:39)

No question, no approach to God is a silly thing. Jesus will use any opportunity to bring people into relationship. I am being a bit critical of our silliness at times but it is in a "tongue in cheek" attitude because I know God is not interested in measuring our intelligence by the questions we ask; he is only thankful that we actually engage him. There are unexpected moments in our day when God seems to catch us by surprise and we may react in a similar manner, coming up with whatever is at hand. Sometimes it is just surface stuff, not things of great importance, but God uses that to draw us into relationship.

That one day that those disciples spent with Jesus changed them for the rest of their lives. If they had just run away when Jesus turned around or if they had not accepted his invitation to see where he was staying, they would have missed out. When we respond to God with surface stuff and he invites us to go deeper with him, don't miss the opportunity. The fact that you were willing to engage him could be the first step to something incredible. Your conversation may not start off with the most intellectual premise but I doubt that God is going to be too impressed by your intelligence anyway. But when he invites you to spend the day with him, to take a walk, to see what he considers to be important, take him up on the invitation. See what is important to God because you may never be the same again. There is no such thing as a silly question with God, only opportunity.

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