Jesus was a relatively new figure on the religious landscape. There were rumors surrounding Him – His birth, His teaching, His power – but by far, the big draw was still John the Baptist. John, with his wild beard and locust-popping habits. John, the fearless who called the Pharisees to task. John, the eccentric.
But John had caused a different kind of ripple. The previous day, Jesus had approached the Jordan River. John stopped what he was doing to make a mysterious but powerful declaration: “Behold! the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” It left his disciples wondering.
Then, when the same thing happened the next day, two of those disciples wanted to inquire further:
“Again the next day, John was standing with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, ‘Look! The Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him say this and followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and noticed them following Him, He asked them, ‘What are you looking for?’” (John 1:35-38).
Valid question. Here were two men who were followers of John. Jesus comes walking up, and suddenly he’s got two hangers-on. So what were they looking for?
Their answer seems to say, “We don’t know,” for at first glance the didn’t even give an answer. They turn to each other. Then, instead of answering the question, they ask another question to Jesus: “Teacher, where are you staying?”
Now that’s a good question. It’s not because it redirected the question of Jesus, buying them some time to think of a better answer. It’s a good one because of the word “staying.”
The word is the same word we find in John 15:4, this time spoken by Jesus: “Abide in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it abides on the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.”
That’s what the men asked: “Where are You abiding?” Where are You remaining? Where are You dwelling? Where are You going to be, because that’s where we want to go. To be with You. To remain with You. To abide with You.”
That’s the question I want to ask: “Jesus, where are you abiding? Because that’s where I want to abide. I want to dwell with You. To fellowship with You. You are my prize, so wherever You are, be it dangerous or uncomfortable or peaceful or joyful, that’s where I want to abide.
But there’s one other detail in the Scripture that pushes the idea. John goes on to record that the two men did indeed go with Jesus. And they “stayed with Him that day.” Then John records the actual time they were there, as if to say, “And can you believe it? When we looked up the whole day was gone!”
That’s what abiding is like. It’s being so caught up in the being that you lose track of time. May it be so.