Mat’s February Letter

The first words of Jesus in the gospel of John are perhaps surprising. In John 1:36Open Link in New Window (&29) as Jesus walks past, John the Baptist declares ‘look here is the Lamb of God!’ We are told that two disciples hear John and follow Jesus. Jesus turns to them and says his first words in John’s gospel, “what are you looking for?” Not ‘who’ but ‘what’. They ask where Jesus is staying. He invites them to ‘come and see’.

“What are you looking for?” What a great question. How would you answer it? How would those you know, work with, live with, share life with, answer it?

Our culture looks for many things; success, wealth, friendship, love, significance, peace, hope, purpose, security, ‘the answer’, truth etc. And we look for these things in many places; jobs, shopping, friends, family, holidays, time off, church, spirituality, personal development etc. “What are you looking for?”

The disciples in question were Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother and I guess the other one was John himself. They must have been looking for something otherwise why were they in the wilderness near the Jordan with John the Baptist? And when Jesus asks the question it’s interesting that they don’t answer it. They follow. Perhaps they don’t know what they are looking for. But they do seem to want to see if Jesus can provide the answer. And so they spend time with him and their lives change radically for ever. They find what they are looking for in Jesus. Andrew is so excited that he has found ‘it’ that he goes and tells his brother, Peter. What amazing fruit came from that conversation!

I suspect that even after spending time with Jesus that day, they didn’t know what it was they had found and probably still couldn’t articulate what they were looking for. But they knew they were searching for something. And they discovered that the answer was in the deep loving and radical mystery that is the person of Jesus.

We are very used to finding definitive answers to the questions we have in scientifically proven fact. The truth is that whilst we do find some answers, ‘the’ full answer, the truth, is found in the person of Jesus who leads us into the mysteries of God.

I’m excited that the priority of the Diocese of Bristol this year is encouraging us to share our Jesus’ faith stories. This Christian witness isn’t about having the answers; it’s about sharing our experience of the person of Jesus. Asking the question of others (and of ourselves), “what are you looking for?”, and declaring that we are finding it in Jesus.


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