Twice, in Mark 10, you have Jesus asking the question, “What do you want me to do for you?” First we have Zebedee’s sons, James and John, who approach Jesus with an incongruous request. Jesus has just finished telling His disciples that He will be mocked, scourged, spat on, and killed, in Jerusalem, where they are headed. In response, James and John seek a private audience with Jesus to ask Him for positions of prominence in His kingdom.
We see the question again when Jesus asks it of blind Bartimaeus, who will stop at nothing to secure an audience with Him. When finally face to face, Jesus asks him the seemingly inane question. In response, Bartimaeus asks to receive his sight. Why else would a blind man seek the audience of a well-known Healer? Surely Jesus could have surmised that the man wanted to see! So perhaps the question probes deeper.
Picture Jesus today asking you the question: What do you want? Take some time to think it through. What is it that you want today? It may be as simple as a hankering for a particular food item. If you could have one bite, or one sip of that yumminess, your day would be complete… Or maybe it’s something more emotive – a hug from someone…anyone…? During your time of devotion, every morning, as you seek audience with Jesus, He asks you that question: What do you want today?
James and John thought they knew what they wanted. But when they shared their request with Jesus, He told them that they had no clue what they were asking for. Haven’t you ever wanted something terribly only to be disappointed after you got it? It turns out that sometimes what we think we want is not what we actually want! A boyfriend/girlfriend perhaps? A new job? Maybe we need to look a little deeper at why we want the things we think we want. Answering the “why” question will clarify the “what” question.
But Jesus’ question does not end there. He is not only asking what you want; He is asking what you want of Him! How you answer that question is inextricably linked to who you perceive Jesus to be.
In James and John’s thinking, Jesus was going to overthrow the Romans and set up the Jewish nation once more... Never mind all His talk about dying. Besides, He did say He’d rise again the third day, so the whole torture and death thing must be insignificant, right? They were satisfied with a partial picture of Jesus, while rejecting aspects of who He was revealing Himself to be. They made their request based on their phony picture of Jesus.
Who do you perceive Jesus to be? Are you willing to accept all of who He reveals Himself to be through Scripture?
There’s yet another layer to the question: Jesus asks, “What do you want me to do FOR YOU?” Yes, Jesus wants to do something for you, personally! He is interested in you – in your desires, in your goals, your aspirations. Ellen White puts it this way:
“Our heavenly Father waits to bestow upon us the fullness of His blessing...God is ready and willing to hear the sincere prayer of the humblest of His children, and yet there is much manifest reluctance on our part to make known our wants to God… God’s heart of infinite love yearns toward [helpless human beings], ready to give them more than they can ask or think, and yet they pray so little and have so little faith?” (Steps to Christ, p. 94)
Believe that Jesus wants to give you what you want. He wants you to be happy!
So, what is that you want Jesus to do for you?