Epiphany 2 :: Where are you staying?

John 1.29-42

2009 UK Trip  544

Hotels, Portree, Isle of Skye

A rather innocuous question, no? The two former disciples of John — now following Jesus — are simply interested in where Jesus is housed for the night. They want to go with him and learn from him, to glean all manner of knowledge — and hope? — from the Lamb of God.

When we ask that question today — Where are you staying? — most likely we just want to know the name of the hotel someone is using while on vacation or a business trip. This is just polite conversation: “Will you be staying in a hotel or with family?” But for Jesus, the question implies much more.

The Greek word meno most often gets translated as “stay” or “remain.” But there is a much deeper meaning here. “Indwelling” seems to fit most closely, but we would probably use the word “abide.” For St. John the Evangelist, this notion of “indwelling” or “abiding” was an important one. He uses a variation of it almost 70 times in his gospel and letters. Perhaps the most familiar to us is this, from John 15: “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.”

The disciples are merely asking Jesus where he is staying the night, but Jesus invites them into a much deeper meaning as if to say, “Let me show you the One in whom I abide and who abides in me!”

This kind of abiding is not simply for one night, but for a lifetime.

Something to ponder: Where are you staying?

Link to RCL Lectionary for the Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A

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