John 1:35-36 – What Do You Want with Jesus?

[Audio for this study is available at Sermons.net, as is a PDF copy of the notes.]

When John declares that Jesus is the lamb of God, two of his disciples begin to follow Jesus (John 1:35-39).  That this is the third day of the sequence ought not be overlooked.  In John’s gospel (as well as the rest of scripture), significant events take place on the “third day.” In this case, John publically identifies Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah.

Andrew is one of the disciples simply mentioned in the synoptics.  In John he figures significantly in several stories.  In each story, he is described as bringing someone or something to Jesus.  (According to Dennis MacDonald (“Andrew” in ABD 1:242-243, the apocryphal Acts of Andrew was “a lengthy verbose expansion on the slight bit of scripture devoted to Andrew.  In it Andrew’s missionary efforts took him to Achaia, but had to leave in order to save Mattias from cannibals.  It appears that the writer of the Aporcryphal work was attempting to write some kind of Christian Odyssey.”) The other disciple may be the “disciple whom Jesus loved” in the second half of the gospel, although John’s gospel has a number of unnamed disciples so it is not necessarily important that this unnamed disciple is the Beloved Disciple.

John “recommends” Jesus to his disciples as a new teacher.  This is another indication of the superiority of Jesus.  John is saying that he has taught his disciples all he can, they are ready to move on to a superior teacher.

The first words of Jesus in the gospel are “what do you want?”  These may be programmatic in the gospel. Köstenberger (John, 74) points out that the gospel writer has a tendency to use “double entendre” to make several points at once. On the surface, Jesus is simply responding to these two disciples who have started to follow him.  But on the level of the whole gospel, the question asks the reader “what do you want” with Jesus?

In the Gospel of John people frequently approach Jesus and want something from him, but it is not necessarily what he came to give!  The woman at the well asks for water, but Jesus is offering living water; the people in the wilderness want bread, Jesus is offering the Bread of Life.

This question ought to be on our minds whenever we read John’s gospel.  What is it that we want with this Jesus?  Salvation, without any real responsibility?  A warm feeling of belonging without any real commitment? Or do we want to enter into a serious relationship with God as his child, ready to be a disciple of Jesus no matter where that takes us?

2 thoughts on “John 1:35-36 – What Do You Want with Jesus?

  1. This is a super legit post P long! I’m amazed no one in Ireland has attacked it yet! What do I want from Jesus? Snap dizzle, that is a huge question. Recently, I have been asking those close to me why they are a Christian. I told them that I don’t want a Sunday school “because He died for me” answer, but a real life, personal answer. So, in honor of that, I am going to answer with a real life, personal answer as well. What do I want from Jesus? Lets begin…

    First off, I want Him to comfort me when I feel like crap. I want Him to be there for me when I am sad, depressed, and simply do not want to live. I want Christ to be my strength when I cannot support myself. Secondly, I want Christ to be a boss in my life. I want to be like Him, and I want Him to shine through me. I need Him to be the person that I follow on a daily basis. I want Him to be the person that I love more than anyone else.

    So these are things that I want, but are they true? Is He these things to me? Or better yet, do I allow Him to be these things to me? I would say I do not, not at this point in my young life at least. Hopefully soon though, hopefully.

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  2. I would point out that I am a huge Ireland fan, and would love to hang out with you in Stephen’s Green on a bright afternoon, love to watch the people.

    Since this is the first question Jesus asks in the John’s gospel, it functions as a bit of an interpretive hint to the whole book. I wonder, after reading through the Gospel of John, if “comfort” and “guidance” are what Jesus offers? (I think that both functions are promised, but it is the Holy Spirit who comforts and convicts us, chapters 14 and 16).

    Like

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