December 01, 2014

"What Do You Want?"

John 1:35-42

Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”
—John 1:38


When I was growing up, my parents took me to church on Sundays, where we would sing about God’s mercy and his willingness to forgive. I learned in church that one of our deepest needs as sinful people is to be forgiven by God’s grace through Christ, the Savior.

When I got older, I sometimes attended Christian churches from different denominational and ethnic backgrounds. One Sunday, in a traditional African-American church, I noticed that many of the songs focused on God’s power to free his people from oppression. In that church, I realized that God’s work of salvation is bigger than the act of forgiving sins. People also have a need to be freed from oppression and injustice, as well as from other damaging results of sin in this world.

When Jesus began his ministry, he asked his followers, “What do you want?” It may seem like a strange question, but it was a great way to begin his ministry.

Jesus came to repair the damage that sin had caused in this world. His question to those followers shows that he came to fulfill our deepest longings. He came to forgive sins and to end oppression. He came to heal the sick, feed the hungry, and clothe the naked.

Certainly salvation is about forgiveness of sins, but it doesn’t stop there. Christ came into our world to be the answer to our deepest longings.

Lord Jesus, we praise you for humbling yourself to become like us, so that our deepest needs and longings can be satisfied. In your name, Amen.

About the author — Bill Sytsma

Bill Sytsma is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary (M.Div) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min). He is the author of the book Follow the Leader and is serving as the pastor of New Life Christian Reformed Church in Highland, Indiana. He and his wife, Staci, have hosted support groups for families built through adoption. He and Staci are the proud parents of three active boys: Luke, Isaac, and Nico.

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