The Gospel text of today begins by speaking of the witness or mediator of God’s word: John the Baptist. Even as Samuel’s mission is to wake people up, the mission of John the Baptist goes even further, namely, to point Jesus out to people. It is interesting that of the four titles that John used to identify Jesus earlier, he chooses here the title “Lamb of God”. While this title may signify the conquering lamb of Yahweh, here it signifies the lamb that is led to the slaughter, the suffering servant of God. John points Jesus out to his disciples as the one who will save people by giving his life as a ransom for all. The disciples realize that, in Jesus, they will receive more than John could ever hope to give. The disciples start following Jesus not fully knowing what this will entail. The first words that Jesus asks them, which are the first words that Jesus speaks in the Gospel of John, are in the form of a question, “What do you seek?” This question is at once both courteous and penetrating. It requires the disciples to go into the deepest recesses of their beings to answer it. They respond with a question of their own, “Rabbi, where do you stay (remain)? They do not seem to be asking for Jesus’ residential address, but want to know where Jesus’ being is. They want to know what motivates Jesus and makes him the kind of person that he is. They want to know the source of his power and authority. Jesus does not answer with an address, but with an invitation. They must “Come and See”. If they really want to know who Jesus is, and what he stands for, they must experience him for themselves. They must stay where he stays and they must remain where he remains. They do that and it is the turning point in their lives. John signifies this by stating that “It was the tenth hour”. The tenth period, according to some apocalyptic calculations, was the decisive hour, the hour when one had to decide for or against. The disciples decided for Jesus.
This, however, is only one part of the story. What follows is as important or even more important. The disciples, like Samuel and John the Baptist, also become mediators or witnesses of God’s word. This time, however, God’s word is not simply verbal. It is manifest in the most perfect of ways, in Jesus.