What Do You Want?
So, why did He ask questions for which He knew the answer? Put simply: although He knew what was in someone’s heart, often that “someone” wasn’t aware or at least wasn’t being honest. He asked questions so that we would be introspective and let the truth come to the surface. Knowing what is going on at the heart level is critically important in the life of faith.
In Western culture, we have tended to focus much on the intellect and our minds but it is from the heart that life proceeds. Our choices and actions flow from what we truly want and desire, not necessarily what we say we want and desire. (Proverbs 4:34) We, as humans, are able to “believe” or hold certain things to be true, but not hold them as the desires of our hearts. This is why someone can profess certain things but act in ways that are contrary.
In Mark 10, Jesus asks the same question in two different settings. In the first, it seemed to go over the heads of those questioned and in the second, it led to healing and transformation. He simply asked: “What do you want?”
Clearly, He knew what was desired in both settings but He wanted them to be clear and understand what was going on at the heart level. We don’t experience God in our minds. Clearly, we can think about someone and consider who they are, but it is from the heart that we interact and converse and commune. Sometimes we have conversations with someone and remark that they seemed to be somewhere else. In those situations, someone may be present in body and in mind but the heart is elsewhere. We can speak words but our hearts are far away. (Isaiah 29:13)
In Mark 10:35-45, a couple of Jesus’ disciples said, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” Jesus simply replies, “What do you want?” They respond with, “We want to sit in places of honor with you in glory.” Jesus says, “You don’t know what you are asking.” Implied in this is that He desired for them to consider what was really going on in their hearts. He goes on to challenge them that the desire for power and control was in their hearts.
In the following verses of Mark 10, a blind man asks Jesus for mercy. Again, Jesus asks, “What do you want?” (the same question he asked His disciples) The blind man responds, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” Jesus heals Him and recognizes that faith was the content of his heart.
The fact that these two scenarios are presented right next to each other should not be lost. The contrast between the blind man and the disciples is significant, and it challenges us to consider what is going on in our hearts. Is it the desperate dependence of blind man who knows Jesus is his only hope? Or, is it the desire to control found in two of the disciples?
Consider this exercise: let Jesus’ ask you that same question, “What do you want?” Be careful not to give Him the answer that you think He wants. He doesn’t want the right answer, He wants you. He wants your heart. Whatever the answer is … talk to Him about it. As you consider what you want, does it lead you to a place of desperate dependence or toward greater control? The great news is that Jesus never abandoned or shunned His disciples, even when the content of their heart was less than sparkling. We can be honest with no fear.
One of the beautiful things about Jesus is that He reveals the desires of our hearts and then graciously calls us to redirect our desires. As you consider what you want, how might that desire be redirected onto Him?
What we truly desire is Him. It’s how we were made and Jesus patiently invites us to return home.