John 1:35-42 : the text is reproduced at the end of this post
Notice that the disciples, upon meeting Jesus, instantly desire to follow him. Jesus, in turn, invites them with hospitality to “Come and see” where he is staying.
The words “remain” and “stay” (the same in Greek) indicate, in John’s Gospel, a quality of presence to God or the Spirit, through “abiding”. Where Jesus is staying is in the presence of God. The disciples seek that same presence.
One of them (Andrew) recognizes, immediately, that Jesus is the Messiah. In contrast, the enemies of Jesus (in the story) question – and test – whether Jesus fits their religious criteria as to the identity of the Messiah (God’s anointed one), criteria given through scripture and traditions.
On a spiritual level, we may understand the interrogation by the religious leaders, as to Jesus’s credentials, as evidence of how the mind (with its expectations and criteria) struggles to make sense of what is new, which cannot be confined by concepts.
This story demonstrates, symbolically, that the presence of God or the Christ (i.e. Christ = Messiah = the anointed one) resonates with the being and heart. We share the same nature as Christ. Like recognizes like.
If we turn against our own nature — a self-betrayal symbolized by the persecution of Christ by enemies — then we are hostile to a person (here, Christ) who embodies this Spirit, which we ourselves reject.
Jesus Christ is the light-bearer, the one who shows us ourselves, as if in a mirror. In their eagerness to follow Jesus, the disciples demonstrate their hospitality to the God principle, in themselves and in the world. They give priority to that Spirit, above all else.
Question: Where does the Spirit reside for you, so that you will instinctively follow? What would you drop everything in order to do? Who would you follow, with self-abandon and utter assurance?
The First Disciples of Jesus
35 The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 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?” 39 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. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed[j]). 42 He brought Simon[k] to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter[l]).