“What are you looking for?” Jesus asked the first disciples. Imagine if Steve Harvey was asking that question. What are you looking for? Good health. Survey said, 2%. What are you looking for? Peace of mind. Survey said, 3%. What are you looking for? Meaning or purpose in life. Survey said, 10%. What are you looking for? Happiness. Good answer, survey said 35%. What are you looking for? Love. Survey said, 50%, the highest response. Of course this question is not a game. It is the (mostly unconscious) motivator for our actions in life. Take politics, one side tells us what they are looking for: What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now. The other side is just as adamant about what they are looking for: Make American great again. According to one ditty all I want for Christmas is my two front teeth. The poet says “all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.” What we are looking for, what we are seeking, what we think we need morphs over time. Sometimes we are looking for peace on earth. Other times we are just looking for a good Chicago-style hot dog. However, I keep hearing in the back of my head the lyrics to an old U2 song (and it hurts me to call a song from the 80s an “oldie”): “But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” Is that the story of human life – to be looking and looking and never quite reaching what we are looking for?
Maybe that helps to explain the seemingly banal response to the question that Andrew and his companion give when it was posed by Jesus. Where are you staying? That’s it? That’s the best you can come up with when asked what you a looking for? An address! The way that Jesus deals with their response tells us that something more is going on here than meets the eye. The disciples are saying where is the love, the happiness, the justice, the peace that I am looking for? It never seems solid. I think it’s here and then it’s over there. Is there any secure anchor that I can pin my hopes? Is that where you are staying? “Come and you will see,” Jesus answers. Come and you will see that no matter what you’re going through, with God you’re going through. Come, Jesus says, and see that if you’re worn down to nothing, God is up to something. Jesus simply can’t tell you the answer to what you are looking for, you’ll have to come to see for yourself. There isn’t any catechism anyone can give you where all of your questions are resolved, you’ll have to let Jesus into your life. There isn’t an answer until you live the question. Jesus says, come with me and see if you don’t find all that you are looking for. Let me into your life and your restless hearts will find peace, your searching heart will find light, your breaking heart will find love.
It must have worked for Andrew comes away from his encounter with Jesus all fired up. “We have found the Messiah.” We have found what we are looking for. We have found our heart’s desire. We know he found it because he shared it. Isn’t that what we do when we have good news? If you won the lottery you’d have balloons and banners decorating the house. When you are getting married you send out announcements and invitations. When your team finally wins the big one you wear a TShirt that says “World Champions.” Good news is meant to be shared.
Andrew shared his good news, the end of his searching, with his brother, with Simon. When Simon came to see if Jesus was what he was looking for he found out something that happens when we respond to the Lord and “come and see.” Things are different, we are different. When Simon came to see Jesus he was given a new name: “You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas” – which is translated Peter. Simon was no longer merely a son of John, he was now Peter, a child of God. His family and friends would notice that he spoke and acted and thought differently because he was following Jesus. When we come and see Jesus we too have a new identity, we too are given a new name, that of “Christian.” We are named as people who have a different set of values, a different way of judging things from those around us. We don’t look on ourselves as blessed when we get the most, but when we are able to give the most. We don’t want to live the longest life, but the best life. We don’t want to be praised to the heavens, but to get to heaven. Because we bear the name of Christian we understand that suffering doesn’t get the last word, grace does. Because we bear the name of Christian we’d rather have seven gifts of the Holy Spirit than six good numbers. Because we bear the name of Christian the word “me” is replaced by the word “we.” What happens to the people who are part of my life matters. Come and you will see, Jesus told the disciples. Come and you will see that what you are looking for can be found when you develop a listening heart. “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.” What you are looking for can be experienced with a body that glorifies God. What you are looking for is discovered with an awareness of your new identity as named and chosen by God. Then, like Andrew in the gospel, we will tell anyone whom we meet: We have found the Messiah. We have found the joy of our souls. We have found the light of the world. We have found the Lamb of God. We have found what we were looking for.