[New to our exegesis of John’s Gospel? Try starting at The Beginning — see top menu for John 1:1-2].
35 The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon.
35 Τῇ ἐπαύριον πάλιν εἱστήκει ὁ Ἰωάννης καὶ ἐκ τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ δύο, 36 καὶ ἐμβλέψας τῷ Ἰησοῦ περιπατοῦντι λέγει· Ἴδε ὁ ἀμνὸς τοῦ θεοῦ. 37 καὶ ἤκουσαν οἱ δύο μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος καὶ ἠκολούθησαν τῷ Ἰησοῦ. 38 στραφεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς καὶ θεασάμενος αὐτοὺς ἀκολουθοῦντας λέγει αὐτοῖς· Τί ζητεῖτε; οἱ δὲ εἶπαν αὐτῷ· Ῥαββί (ὃ λέγεται μεθερμηνευόμενον Διδάσκαλε), ποῦ μένεις; 39 λέγει αὐτοῖς· Ἔρχεσθε καὶ ὄψεσθε. ἦλθαν οὖν καὶ εἶδαν ποῦ μένει, καὶ παρ’ αὐτῷ ἔμειναν τὴν ἡμέραν ἐκείνην· ὥρα ἦν ὡς δεκάτη.
I’m Staying at the Lodge
As with all our pericopes, there is more here than we can possibly cover. One key item, though, is John presents here what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Let’s follow the order in the text:
First, John the Baptist had disciples. And yet, when Jesus walked by, John does not do what so many religious leaders do: make it about him. Instead, he ponts his followers to Jesus and says essentially, “This is the One!” And now they follow Jesus.
In verse 36, Jesus walks by. The verb used here to walk is peripateo — a rich word with a lot of history. You might recall a group of Greek Aristotelian philosophers called peripatetics. These first two disciples — one of whom is believed to be John the Gospel writer — turned from following the one who took them to Jesus, to now following (walking with) Jesus. This is the job of the one who disciples others: to turn them to Jesus and follow the Lord. And to be a follower of Jesus means to seek to live like the Master (Rabbi, v. 38). To be a follower of Jesus, then, is no small thing!
Now, as they turn to follow, Jesus asks: What are you looking for?ˆ Wow! So much is in that question. What do you seek? What, ultimately, do you want? They respond with, “Where are you staying?” John here introduces a loaded word in his Gospel — meno: to lodge, stay, or remain. The first disciples are asked what they seek. They want to know where Jesus is staying, and Jesus says, “Come and see.” On the surface, it looks quite straight forward. But John is clever at taking what appears to be basic, concrete words and phrases and sees in them a deeper meaning; and these same words reappear later, linking together a pattern of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
Meno then appears two more times in this short passage. They saw where he was staying and then remained (variation of the same word in Greek) with him.
So, looking over this passage, John is with some of his disciples. Jesus walks by and John says, “Look! Here is the Lamb of God!” The disciples leave the one who led them to Jesus, to now follow Jesus. Jesus indicates that he is the One they long for, that we all seek, and they want to know where he dwells, and, at the invitation of Jesus, they are taken there.
And we are invited to do the same!
And all this happened at 4 o’clock in the afternoon — rather specific don’t you think? But the Greek says, “the tenth hour.” The tenth hour is the same as our 4 o’clock in US English, but it lacks something in translation. The number 10 in Judaism stands for completion. Likely another symbolic meaning by the Gospel writer.
“Come and see,” Jesus says.
But, on our way to the Jesus Lodge, how easy it is to get diverted by distractions!
[The picture above shows a woman looking at the city. Where does Jesus lodge? Maybe the appropriate image is not so much a mountain lodge but in the inner city, in the mess of human relationships!]