After the two heard John identify Him as the Passover Lamb, they left his company and began following Jesus. As Jesus became aware He was being tailed, He turned and asked, “What do you seek?”

These two men had already crossed a line. They were hanging out with John the Baptist—a man at odds with the religious establishment. John was preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The citizenry had concluded He was, at the very least, a great prophet and possibly even the Messiah.

What drew these two original disciples away from John? I believe it was this; they knew the Law, but they wanted to know God. The Law and its stewards, the Pharisees, guaranteed the former; their hearts were being drawn to the latter. The Law without grace was a massive burden to their hearts, reminding them they were the types of persons requiring law upon law to save. They knew about God and they knew they were sinners, but these things had not liberated their hearts. This accounts, at least in part, for their association with John—one who was announcing forgiveness. How sweet that must have sounded!

The Law and the Prophets had awakened them to the chasm existing between God and themselves. The ancient scrolls had also hinted of a bridge to come and the reunion that bridge would facilitate. Perhaps the Psalmist’s candor had also awakened a liberty within them, bold enough to ask, “Is there not more?

As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? (Psalm 42:1-2)

In their search for more, the two found themselves in the company of others at odds with the religious status quo. Following Jesus was dangerous! Yet, something about Him made the risk worth it. What was this something? Somehow, Jesus Himself was the answer. Without them knowing it, the Master Teacher was making His primary point:  one could stand clean and unburdened in God’s presence.

For these men, a plant had pushed up through the soil, presenting itself in the form of their questions. It had been germinating in the soil of religion. It had produced a sacred weariness and an attendant hunger for reality and relationship with God.

The questions our hearts ask are provoked by the Spirit of Truth. They are signs that God is drawing us. However, we must learn from the original disciples—trouble awaits question-askers. In the context of transformation (the very nature of God’s expanding kingdom) Truth predictably leads men outside the boundaries of establishment. Truth is bold and will challenge the underlying assumptions driving performance religion. It does so, because It came to set us free—to let us soar at higher altitudes than are possible with form and tradition.

For followers of Jesus, tensions within and without, are inevitable. Establishment (aka old wineskins) doesn’t respond well to questions. They quickly withdraw the right hand of fellowship from anyone disturbing what they believe God has established. Question askers will either be censored or ushered to the back door and shown the broad opportunities that await them outside. In extreme situations, they may be crucified.

If God is transforming His Bride from what she is into what she shall be, change is inevitable. Questions precede transformation and the big question remains: “What do you seek?”

I watched a Russian film called Stalker. A stalker leads men into a place where their innermost desire will be met. It reminded me that our innermost desire is also the main thing with God. This thing, whatever it is, will be revealed when we ultimately stand before him—“when nothing that was hidden will remain.” Therefore, why we do what we do is a big deal. This is why God keeps asking, “Really, children, I’m serious—What is it that you want?”

If we find that following Jesus has created tensions between the keepers of tradition and ourselves, let’s quickly give thanks to God for the excellent soil and His gardening skill. Let’s also avoid pointing fingers at the establishment for its shortcomings. Instead, let’s listen to the questions God is asking us. This way, when He asks us why we have done what we have done, our answer can simply be, “Father, You know I have done these things because I have loved You and simply could not bear the thought of our separation.

In the School of Christ, which meets continually in our hearts, our Teacher, the Holy Spirit, is tutoring us into an experiential love affair with God. Our current relationships and circumstances are our curriculum. If we attend class, we discover that His kingdom is inverted and foreign (at least initially) to our natural minds. Example: in the kingdom, longing, disorientation, and questions are not signs of failure; instead, they indicate our good attendance record.

I am so looking forward to commencement. Aren’t you?

Father, may your Spirit succeed in the re-education of our hearts. Exposing us where we are doing right for wrong reasons. May we see the test at hand. May we give thanks for its content, and may we all graduate with flying colors. Amen.


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