“Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What do you seek?” – John 1:38
John the Baptist had drawn quite a following of earnest seekers who gathered in the desert to wash away their sins in a muddy little river. Along with them, there were skeptics, scoffers, teachers, preachers and politicians – all in a wilderness of nothing looking for something. As important as the ministry of John was, the greatest of all the prophets could offer little to these men and women apart from religious symbolism – pointing to the one who was to come. The seekers were still seeking.
Into this scene steps Jesus. The creator’s feet were in the dirt again. Instead of the garden it was the desert. Instead of “Where are you?” he’s asking “What do you seek?” Unless your answer is, “Who cares?” it’s a more difficult question than you might think. You must answer honestly if, one day, you want to know as you are known.
Today, our wilderness is concrete and digital, yet still full of dirt and despair. Many of us are still seeking – filling up church pews, checking in pill bottles, staring at screens and collectively digesting billions of words each day on self-improvement when there is only one thing that will satisfy our uneasy quest for fulfillment, and it lies behind the eyes and in the veins of the man in the desert who turns and sees us looking at him in individual shades of disbelief and asks, “What do you seek?” and then invites us to “Come and see.”