'What seek ye?' John 1:38
Updated: Jul 28, 2019
Perspective on the first words of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in the Gospel According to St. John.
The prologue of the book of John (1:1-18) is a straight shooting, pointed, and direct answer to the question that Jesus poses to those who follow Him: "who do people say that I am?"
The Great Unveiling
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... all things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made... and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us..." John 1:1,3,14.
The Gospel According to St. John beautifully, and directly, gives understanding into the nature of Jesus Christ: He is the Word (the "Logos," or translated from ancient Greek: the divine expression), He was in the beginning with God, He was God, He made ALL things! One of the most humbling epiphanies in this fantastic introduction is that He was made flesh, AND dwelt among us! The God of the universe, creator of all things: all powerful, all knowing, clothed himself in flesh and dwelt among us: the only begotten son, of God the Father. The Word pierced through the darkness, in the beginning of creation, with a breath, when He said:
"LET THERE BE LIGHT..." (Genesis 1:3)
This piercing light was life, to men! Man, since the original sin in the Garden of Eden, is wicked, sinful, and sentenced to death; man has no hope of life or light through self righteous deeds, because every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Genesis 6:5). Man stumbles his way through life without God, and we see that "the way of the wicked is as darkness, they know not why they stumble (Proverbs 4:19)." What hope have we? In the Gospel According to St. John, it is explicitly, and plainly, stated: "In Him was life and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not," (John 1:4-5). Jesus Christ is life, and the light of men: guarding, and guiding our path. "...God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." (1 John 1:5).
The Power of God and His Response to Us
These are glimpses of unbridled power within our Savior, Jesus Christ; we know that wisdom AND power belong to God (Job 12:13): every word that our Savior spoke, had divine purpose, on a magnitude that cannot fully be fathomed. The essence of supreme, unlimited power: omnipotent, omniscient, and eternal, manifested itself as a human, his frame was like ours: finite, and imperfect, yet he was altogether holy, spotless and blameless: He who was without sin, was made to be sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Our Savior speaks for the first time, in the Gospel According to St. John, not in an ego-maniacal, self-righteous, holier-than-thou, manner; rather, our Savior asks His first followers a question that He still asks His followers, to this day; how important must this question be, given what we know of the one who asks? Jesus' first question to his followers is:
"What seek ye?" John 1:38 KJV
"What are you seeking?" John 1:38 ESV
"What do you want?" John 1:38 NIV
At face-value, this question would appear to be straight forward, and altogether quite plain, but considering who is asking this question - Jesus Christ - the one who holds ALL power, ALL wisdom, ALL glory: there is much more to the question than meets the eye: and what meets the eye (to the born again Christian) is the kingdom of God. "...except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3). So What could the significance of this question be? To get a better understanding of Jesus's questions, we must look again to His very own nature, by bringing Hebrews 4:12, into the conversation:
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12) - emphasis added
The Nature of the Word of God and The Human Response
The ancient Greek translation for "word" in Hebrews 4:12, is "logos" - the same word used to give identity to the "Logos" (the Word), in John 1:1. Translated from ancient Greek to English, "logos" translates to "the divine expression," a term that the ancient Greek philosophers used to define the implicit order, and meaning, in the cosmos; John plainly states that this "divine expression" - the Logos - is Jesus Christ, who is God! We see that the logos of God, or stated alternatively, the divine expression of God, is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12); the words that Jesus spoke, were the very words of God: revealing the thoughts and intents of the heart. How does this practically apply to our life, day to day, as born again Christians?
"Your response to a direct question from our Lord and Savior, will be the confession of the thoughts and intents of your heart."
This is the nature of the word of God: as we read - as we respond - the word of God reads and responds to us: naturally leading us to sanctification, through repentance, and obedience to the Holy Spirit. Jesus said "it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person" (Matthew 15:11). To state it more plainly Jesus states "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." (Matthew 12:34). What comes out of a person's mouth is a confession of the heart, that will illustrate, clearly, an individual's thoughts and intentions, whether they are good or evil.
Ask and Tell
In the Gospel According to St. John, Jesus asks His followers (as he does even to this day) what it is they seek; one's answer to this question is a confession of the heart: revealing the inner most thoughts and intents; in this interaction with His followers, Jesus asks but does not tell, what it is His followers should be seeking, instead, we see the followers' heart unabashedly respond to our Savior, in child like wonder. Matthew 6:33, however, gives us explicit direction, as Jesus says: "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (emphasis added). We are to seek first, the kingdom of God, and as noted above, one cannot even begin to see the kingdom of God unless one is born again (John 3:3); how is one born again? Believe in the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth (Romans 1:16). Jesus says: "Seek and ye shall find..." (Luke 11:9), it is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter (Proverbs 25:2). God gives us a promise, that when we seek, we will find what it is we are seeking, and it is to His glory that we must seek it out.
What seek ye?
Believing in Christ, enables us to see the kingdom of God, and places life's priorities in right order: the kingdom of God is what we seek FIRST, as followers of Christ. Life's worries and anxieties melt away, because we have the promises of God - life and light in Christ - to guide our path, in this life and into eternity. My prayer for you is that you would sincerely ask yourself this question:
What am I seeking, right now?
I pray that you have believed in the gospel of Christ, that you are seeking the kingdom of God first: putting the right priorities FIRST. If your answer to the question above, does not involve the kingdom of God, this should cause you to pause, and reflect: a red flag should go up in your mind: not because I, the writer, say so, but because it is written.