In the garden of Gethsemane, when Judas arrived with the Roman cohort and the commander, and the Jewish officers to arrest Him, Jesus asked, “Whom are you seeking?” (Greek, τίνα ζητεiς or tina zeteis). That’s found in Jn 18:6. They replied, “Jesus of Nazareth.” And when He said, “I AM,” the Scripture says they all drew back and fell to the ground (Joh 18:6). In the modern English versions, it may say, “I AM He,” but the Greek simply says “eimi” meaning “I AM.” It seems they were so stunned when He spoke this that it had the effect of knocking them to the ground, as if the power of God hit them. In fact, it so immobilized them that He had to ask them a second time whom they were seeking, once again confirming His identity to them, and inviting them to come and arrest Him.
Likewise, when Mary was standing outside the empty tomb, Jesus asked the same question, “Whom are you seeking?” (Greek, τίνα ζητεiς or tina zeteis). However, she did not recognize Him until He said her name, “Mary.” Then she realized who He was. She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, "Rabboni!" (which means, Teacher). (Joh 20:16)
This is a great question to ask: “Whom are you seeking?” (tina zeteis). The infinitive form of the word zeteo means: “1) to seek in order to find; 1a) to seek a thing; 1b) to seek [in order to find out] by thinking, meditating, reasoning, to enquire into; 1c) to seek after, seek for, aim at, strive after; 2) to seek, i.e. require, demand; 2a) to crave, demand something from someone.” (Thayer). So another way to phrase this may be “Whom are you seeking in order to find?”
Everyone is seeking someone. Some people are seeking a soul mate – that perfect person who will love them just the way they are. Others are seeking a guru to guide them into deeper spirituality. Others are seeking someone to give them money, or someone to provide them with a great paying job. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no man comes to the Father, except by Him. He is God’s Son, He is love, and loves you more than anyone in the universe ever could. He is the one who will lead you into a deep spiritual relationship with the Father. He will not only save your soul, but also provide for your temporal earthly needs as well.
Jesus asked Andrew and John, “Whom do you seek?” (tina zeteis). "Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, 'Behold, the Lamb of God!' The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, 'What do you seek?' They said to Him, 'Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?' He said to them, 'Come, and you will see.' So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour." (Joh 1:35-39). The phrase "tina zeteis" can mean either "what do you seek" or "whom do you seek." And obviously Andrew and John were seeking the Lord to be with Him wherever He was staying, since John the Baptist, whose disciples they were, had declared Jesus to be the Lamb of God.
Seek His Kingdom and His Righteousness
Jesus said, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Mat 6:33). It's important to note that He said to do this "first" above all other things you need to seek. Make His kingdom and His righteousness your chief aim, and you will have all you need.
He Who Seeks Finds
Jesus said, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Mat 7:7-8). He who seeks finds.
Seek the Lord Like Fine Pearls
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.” (Mat 13:45-46)
God wants you to seek Him: “and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;” (Act 17:26-27)
Seek the Lord with selfless love for Him, not for selfish gain: “So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they themselves got into the small boats, and came to Capernaum seeking Jesus. When they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, ‘Rabbi, when did You get here?’ Jesus answered them and said, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.’” (Joh 6:24-27). After these people ate the fish and the loaves He had multiplied, they sought Him for more of that natural, perishable food. He said we must seek Him for eternal life and rewards.
Whatever it Takes, Seek Him
Zaccheus was seeking to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. (Luk 19:3). Since he was short, he had to take extraordinary measures to seek the Lord. Since he would not be able to see over the heads of the people in front of him, he climbed a tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus. He was willing to do whatever it took. This kind of seeking always gets the Lord’s attention. Just as the Lord decided to eat at the house of Zaccheus, when He saw how the man sought Him, the Lord will commune with you when you seek Him in extraordinary ways.
You Must Seek the Glory of God
Jesus said to those who sought glory from men, "I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?” (Joh 5:43-44). He did not seek man’s glory but glory from God.
Paul said we must seek for glory and honor and immortality. “[God] will render to each person according to his deeds: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. (Rom 2:6-8)
Jesus sought the glory of God: "He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” (Joh 7:18)
Do Not Seek a Wife
These days there are ads for websites dedicated to women seeking men, men seeking women, even men seeking men and women seeking women. People are looking for their dream partner. Paul told the Corinthians who were single not to seek a spouse. “Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife.” (1Co 7:27).
However, he said that if you do marry, you have not sinned. It's not a sin to marry someone of the opposite gender who is in Christ, but it should not be your aim to seek after a wife or husband. Seek the Lord. Pray about it, and let the Lord take care of all your needs in His timing and His own way.
Seek the Things Above
Paul said to seek the things above that are in heaven. “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” (Col 3:1)
Seek the Good of Many Others
Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor. (1Co 10:24)
Paul sought the salvation of many: “Just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved.” (1Co 10:33)
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, (1Co 13:4-5)
Jesus is Seeking the Lost
While we need to seek the Lord, we need to realize that He is seeking to save the lost. "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luk 19:10). If you are lost, the Lord is seeking you. It’s time you begin seeking Him, too! And if you are already saved, you should seek the lost to save them, by proclaiming the good news, as Jesus did.
The Father Seeks People to be His Worshipers
Just as Jesus is seeking the lost to bring them into the kingdom, this is the Father’s heart. The Father seeks for people to worship Him in spirit and in truth. Jesus said, "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. (Joh 4:23)
The devil is Seeking Someone to Devour
Just as God is seeking true worshippers, even the devil is seeking people, except that his purpose in doing so is to destroy them. He is seeking someone to devour. “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1Pe 5:8). The devil is seeking for victims with the same intensity that a hungry lion seeks for prey to devour. Knowing that the devil is doing that, our seeking the Lord, His kingdom, and the lost must be stronger and more intense than the devil’s seeking.
Putting it All Together
Seek His kingdom and His righteousness, because he who seeks finds. Seek the Lord as if you were searching for fine pearls. God wants you to seek Him. Seek the Lord with selfless love for Him, not for selfish gain. Have an attitude that whatever it takes, you’re going to seek Him, even in extraordinary ways.
You must seek the glory of God like Jesus did. Seek for glory and honor and immortality. Do not seek a wife. Don’t seek wealth. Seek the things above. Seek the good and the salvation of many others, not your own comfort and benefit. Jesus is still seeking the lost as He did during His earthly ministry, and we should, too.
The Father seeks people to be His worshipers, so that He might bless them. On the other hand, the devil is seeking people, too, in order to destroy them.
Whom are you seeking? And what are you seeking? Whatever it is, I can assure you it will never satisfy you. I can tell say that with certainty as one who sought the things of this world before I knew Jesus. Only the Lord can satisfy the yearning in your heart for love and fulfillment. He is the great I AM. Only He can fill that void inside you.
Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. "Seek My Face" painting © 2012 Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist.
Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, I recommend reading my articles Taking Heaven by Force, Crying Out to God Loudly, Pressing on Toward the Goal, and Striving to Enter the Kingdom of God. You may also like the other posts in this blog available through the links in the side bar. You may also access my blog directory at "Writing for the Master."
Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus. Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?
“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15). He preached that we must repent and believe.
Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International. He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.