January 12, 2023: Where do you abide?

Reading: John 1:29-42

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.” The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!”

The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).



Rabbi, where do you abide?
That is the better translation of the two disciples’ question in today’s reading. The Greek verb menō shows up 33 times in John’s gospel and becomes a major theme. It’s best translated as “abide”, though for the sake of poetry English translations often translate it as a variety of different words: abide, stay, dwell, etc. It’s a shame that they do this because we miss out on the wordplay when we translate it as anything other than “abide”.

Throughout the gospel, Jesus says things like:
– “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them”
– “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples”
– “I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not abide in the darkness.”
– “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who abides in me does his works.”
– “Abide in me as I abide in you”
– “Abide in my love.”

The two big questions that come up as we read through John’s gospel are these:
– “Where does Jesus abide?”
– “Where do I [the reader] abide?”

The disciples go after that first question right off the bat in chapter one, though they don’t know it at the time: “Rabbi, where do you abide?” They ask. They want to know where Jesus is spending the night, but the answer is far more astounding than they could ever imagine. Jesus abides in the Father. Jesus abides in the believer. And that carries with it the answer to the second question: it’s not just Jesus who abides in these special places but we, too. We abide in Jesus and in the Father.

Where Jesus abides is important. Where you abide is important, too. And actually we abide in the same place: we abide in each other. Jesus abides in you; you abide in Jesus; together, you both abide in the Father.

Thanks be to God for that lovely dwelling place.

–Jim Vitale



Abiding Father, we give you thanks that, by your son, we make our home in you. Helps us to remember today that you abide in us and we abide in you. May we feel your loving presence wrapped around us.