“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?’ ‘Come,’ he replied, ‘and you will see.’ So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour. Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas’ (which, when translated, is Peter).” John 1: 37-42
“We must have the glory sink into us before it can be reflected from us. In deep inward beholding we must have Christ in our hearts that He may shine forth from our lives.” Alexander MacLaren
Jesus turned to Mark and Robyn and asked, “What is it that you want?” They said, “Rabbi, where do you live? How can our love more fully reflect your love for us?” He looked at them and smiled. “Come and you will see.”
I confess I spend woefully little time just observing Jesus. Even as I am writing this page I am aware of the fact that Sports Center is on in a few minutes so I need to “hurry” and complete this thought. It is pervasive in this husband to be distracted from intimate times with Jesus by the cotton candy of this life. Intimacy with Jesus demands my time and attention, but I get so pleased with myself when I’ve had a 30 minute “scanning” of Jesus. Deep in my heart I desire more but I suffer from a spiritual attention deficit disorder that draws me away from simply stopping to gaze and wonder at the detail of His love and the contours of His character. Recognizing this I could try one more time to “do better” in my private devotions but to what end? My self-determination alone has always ended in frustration.
As with my salvation, this search for a fuller intimacy is a work of God’s grace in my life. It is His creation and my only proper response is to take hold of it in faith and allow Him to chip away at the barriers I erect in drawing near to Him; resting in the fact that His investment in our relationship is greater than mine will draw me to spend the “the day” with Him.
“O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed at my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, so that I might know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, ‘Rise up, my love, my fair one and come away.’ Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus name, Amen.” (A.W. Tozer, Pursuit of God)
The disciples in this story spent the day with Him. They followed Jesus to where He was staying…. “Where Jesus was staying”? …. What if Mark and Robyn regularly spent time discovering where Jesus was staying? This causes me to reflect that when we do seek the Lord we are usually asking Him to come to us – and often He does just that. But what if in the course of our daily walk we sought to discover where Jesus was? What if Mark and Robyn asked the question, “Where is Jesus staying in the midst of this misunderstanding? Where does He live when there is tension and hurt in the room? Where is His dwelling place when we have reached the limits of our self-effort?” In other words will we take the time to travel spiritually to where Jesus resides? Yes, I know the gospel declares that God came to make His home among us (Emmanuel), but as with any friendship He also invites to His home as well.
So where does Jesus abide? Some days He sits at the right hand of the Father and intercedes for our marriage, longing to remind us He sits enthroned in the heavens and nothing evil said or done to one another will prevail – He is sovereign! (Colossians 3:1-3). Some days He’s in our living room holding our hands consoling and imparting wisdom through times of hurt and conflict – He is comfort (John 14:15-17). Then at other times He abides in our neighborhood where there is loss, anger and fear and beckons us to take the focus off ourselves and onto another – He is the least of these (Matthew 25:40)…. And some days He inhabits the sweet and tender refreshments of love as we simply enjoy and delight in one another – He is joy (Song of Solomon 1:4). All these places and more for the purpose of seeing and sharing in His glory!
“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world” (John 17:24).
Now here is the beauty in marriage of fixing our eyes on Jesus and finding Him where He resides. When we have beheld Him there is a renewed awareness of the “Spirit of wisdom and revelation” (Ephesians 1:17) – a revelation of the image of the Son of God in our lives. When Andrew had this experience he had to tell someone he loved – not only telling Peter but bringing him to Jesus to see for himself. What if instead of bringing myself to Robyn with all my wounds, I brought her (and my wounds) to Jesus in the new place I had found Him? A new place where there is new wisdom and revelation meeting us in the places our relationship needs Him most. There Jesus meets us and gives us “new names”. He changes who we are and transforms our identity. No longer are we defined by our roles, “appropriate” behavior or past mistakes but are transfigured into the male and female image bearers He intended.
Lord, let us go together to those quiet places where we can hear your voice and witness your great tenderness toward us. Let us go into the rush of everyday living but hear the crashing power of your living water louder still. Let us step into our inevitable differences but maintain your peace and behold your humility and grace in each other. Let us be swift in our feet to follow you and keen with our eyes that we may see You. Stretch us in our hearts to be actively still before You. May the amazement of Your glory be seen us. Amen.