Monday, June 27, 2011

What Seek Ye?


(John 1:38)  38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?  [1]

(John 1:38)  38 When Jesus turned and saw them, he asked, “What do you want?”... [2]

(John 1:38)  38 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?”... [3]

            One of the blessings we have of living in this present age is the many different translations of the Holy Word of God that is available to us.  From the above passage, taken from three different sources, we see how the same passage is translated, all to better our understanding of God’s word to us.  What I think, though, is that God has allowed these different versions for another reason:  to stimulate us to think, to ponder, to meditate on His word and look at it in a different light, the light of the Holy Spirit.
            On looking at John 1:38, the Spirit stirred in me to come to my favorite place, a place before God, in which He allows me to write, to seek His message, and put it down on these pages.  Let’s be sure of one thing, that I can do nothing apart from God’s Holy Spirit, I’m not that smart.  I’m a secretary of sorts, just typing the Holy Ghost’s dictation, letting Him guide me as I seek the greater truth in God’s word.  When I see John 1:38, in different translations, what do I see?  I see the same passage, but, three different questions posed by our Lord to us.  At first glance, they seem the same, that the inquiry is the identical, but one must examine the questions to see if the answers are truly the same...

What seek ye?

Seek.  What does one do when you seek?  Let’s look at Webster...

“seek... vb sought; seeking  1 : to search for  2 : to try to reach or obtain  3 : ATTEMPT --seeker n[Webster’s New Dictionary of the English Language (New York, Merriam-Webster, Inc.) 2001]

Jesus asked John the Baptist’s followers “What seek ye?  What were they searching for, what were they reaching for, hoping to obtain?  Let’s look at the passages preceding the question:

(John 1:36-37)  36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!  37 And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. [4]

John identified Jesus as the Lamb of God.  From the teachings of the Baptist, these followers knew that John was speaking of the coming Messiah, the Son of God.  This was what they sought, what they were searching for, a deeper, more personal God than the one that traditional Jewish religion had given them.  It is interesting to note that one of these men that had followed John was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.  Thus, Jesus knew what He was seeking, the beginning of the twelve.  What seek ye?  As you delve into the words of God, into the revelation of Jesus Christ from the pages of God’s Holy Book, what do you seek?  Do you ponder the question of what it is you are attempting to obtain or the goal you are reaching for?  Just as Jesus knew what He was seeking then (Andrew), He knows that every time you look into these pages, He is seeking you.  We often think it is the other way around, but the question, What seek ye?”, is so personal, so tuned to each individual, that pause must be given to find the answer in our own hearts.  Yes, we seek Jesus, but for us to even look at these words means He has sought us first for it is written:

(John 14:6) Jesus says to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father unless by me. [5] 

By Him do we come to seek the Father, and as we draw nigh unto God, He draws nigh unto us.  We are called first by Him that seeks us, then we endeavor to obtain Him, to sit at His feet and draw upon the living water that flows from His words...

“What do you want?”

Same question, or is it?  Let’s look at our old friend Webster again:

1 want  vb  1 : to fail to possess : LACK  2 : to feel or suffer the need of  3 :  to desire earnestly : WISH...
   2 want  n  ... 2 : dire need : DESTITUTION  3 :  something wanted : DESIRE...” [Webster’s New Dictionary of the English Language (New York, Merriam-Webster, Inc.) 2001]

Now we have a different set of definitions to work from.  The question appears the same, but the emphasis has changed.  No longer are we seeking, or looking, but now we become aware of something that we don’t have, something we don’t possess.  Here has been identified to us the Lamb of God;  all at once our soul cries out, yearns for this One, this Son of Man.  The hole that is in our soul suddenly looms large, and the lack we feel becomes acute.  It is as Webster describes, a feeling, a need for.  O how we wish to be filled, that this desire be satisfied.  Like Andrew, we follow, and ask where do you dwell Lord?  We are in dire need for Him to dwell with us, this yearning becomes a burning that only He can satisfy.  Destitute?  Yes, we are destroyed if He is allowed to walk away, our being screams at us, “Don’t let Him go!”  Even if we don’t understand what this yearning is, we know that we have seen Him, and now we can’t do without.  Little by little, we start to realize that it is becoming not the doing without, but the leaning upon Him that we must have.  The need of has become crucial to our continued existence, and excitement builds...

“What are you looking for?”...

“1 look vb  1 :  to exercise the power of vision : SEE  2 :  EXPECT  3 :  to have an appearance that befits (~s the part) ... 5 :  to direct one’s attention : HEED...” [Webster’s New Dictionary of the English Language (New York, Merriam-Webster, Inc.) 2001]

Now comes the meat of the matter.  We have sought, searched for, reached to obtain;  we haven’t possessed it, but the need is over-whelming.  Now, we are looking, but do we see?  He looks the part, according to our eyes anyway.  What does the heart say?  That gaze, it says, “Pay attention.  Heed my words.”  What does He say to us?  “(John 1:39)  39  He saith unto them, Come, and ye shall see...[6]  Now, excitement gives way to expectation.  Here is the answer to all we have been searching for.  No longer do we need to rush here and there, for right here, before our eyes, is the object of our desire.  That hole in our soul?  Filled.  That lack, that crushing need?  Replaced.  Sweet melodies of joy begin to supplant the discordant sounds of confusion that once were all we heard.  This is it, the peace that passes all understanding, its what we have been looking for.  We see, and not just with our eyes, but with the soul, with the spirit that is in us.  The Divine has come to us, the Hope that casts out fear, the One who loves us. 

            There are many questions that can be asked in ways that all seem the same.  The questions are different, when looked at in the light of Him, but what is always the same is the answer.  He never changes, never changes, never changes.  No, in the light of the efforts of many scholars and researchers, the Word of God reaches out to all of us.  The translations may vary, but God Himself never lets the meaning get away from its original intent, to draw us nigh to Him.
What seek ye?  The answer is there, in His Word, and it is always Jesus Christ.  God Bless you this day.

[1] The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.
[2] The Contemporary English [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1995 by the American Bible Society.
[3] The New Revised Standard Version, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers) 1989.
[4] The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.
[5] Darby, J. N., 1890 Darby Bible, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995.
[6] 1901 American Standard Version, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1994.

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