After hearing John the Baptist point out Jesus as the Lamb of God, Andrew and another disciple of John seem to understand the meaning of what John means and follow Jesus as he walks by them. Jesus senses they are behind him. He stops, faces them, and asks, “What are you looking for?”
Their response to the question, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher) “where are you staying?” (Jn 1:38), is odd. Unless we understand that, in fact, the two disciples of John did not grasp the full relevance of John calling Jesus the Lamb of God. They related to Jesus, from the context of what they knew, their default position, as a rabbi, a teacher. Most rabbis of the time would have a place where they would gather their disciples and teach them. Another thought is that they did not want to come right out and say, “Hey, Jesus, are you the Messiah?”, there was some doubt, so they went with rabbi.
Jesus said: “Come and you will see” (Jn 1:39). Andrew and the disciple then spent the day with Jesus and that made all the difference. If Andrew had any doubt before, it was now gone. We do not know what he experienced with Jesus in their time together, but the first thing that Andrew does is go to tell Simon his brother that he had found the Messiah, the Anointed, the Christ! There was no hesitation. He wanted to share what he had seen, most likely as we hear time and again in the Gospels, Andrew experienced some or all of these examples: the blind saw, the deaf heard, the lame walked, the possessed were exorcised, sins were forgiven, and Jesus taught with authority.
May we place our self in this scene of the Gospel today and follow the finger of John the Baptist who points over to this man walking by us at a pretty good clip. As we turn to follow, the brightness of the morning sun catches our eyes. We squint, look down, and lose him for a moment, but take a few steps to keep pace. We hear the crunch of the stone and sand under our sandals and as we look up again, Jesus has turned to face us. He is smiling, his eyes are inviting as is his question: “What are you looking for” (Jn 1:38).
Stay with the scene. How do you answer, and what happens next? Allow your imagination and senses come alive. Place your self in this moment as best as you can. Be aware of any emotions or thoughts that arise. This is not just a mind game. Fr. James Martin, SJ teaches that in the practice of Ignatian contemplation that, “If God can work through relationships, sacraments, and Scripture, then God can work through the gift of our imaginations so we can draw closer to him in prayer.”
Photo: Statue of Jesus in our Rosary Garden at St Peter Catholic Church, Jupiter, FL
Link for Fr. James Martin, SJ talk on Ignatian Contemplation. The presentation is only 4:40 seconds long and is a part of a series of YouTube videos he presented on prayer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CI4YjQEijI