The Gospels – What do you really want?
This interesting story begins with Jesus telling His disciples what was awaiting Him in Jerusalem.
“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.” Matthew 20:18-19 NKJV
The disciples had been walking with Jesus for around three years becoming more and more convinced that He was indeed their Messiah, the promised deliverer and king. Jesus had been gradually and gently explaining to them that the earthly kingdom most of the Jews were expecting the Messiah to establish, was not going to be structured quite the way they had come to anticipate. God had a much bigger plan. And it had to do with the once and for all defeat of sin and death, and the redemption of mankind through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.
For the mother of James and John, the implications of what Jesus explained were beyond her grasp at the time, but she did love her sons, and whatever happened, she was thinking of them, wanting the best for them like any mother would. She and the boys approached Jesus to ask a favor.
Jesus said to her, “What do you request?” (20:21 NLT). She asked for Jesus to allow her sons to have places of honor in his kingdom. As a dad, I would have probably asked for the same thing for my kids, so I can relate with her. And, as a Christian, I can relate with Jesus’ reply.
Jesus answered them and said, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?” (20:22 NLT) They were confident that they were ready for anything, really having no earthly idea what Jesus would suffer. Ultimately, Jesus said that seating arrangements weren’t His call, but they would surely suffer with Him.
The disciples eyesight was fine, but they were blind to what God was doing in the world in Christ. Jesus called them together and explained that in His kingdom leadership is based on servanthood, not power, position, or title. The first and greatest would be the humble servants. He used Himself as an example: “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28
As they went forward, with a large crowd following Christ and His disciples, two blind men began to shout, trying to get the attention of Jesus. “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” People yelled at them to keep quiet. Couldn’t they see that Jesus was walking by? He had more important things to do than listen to the likes of two beggars. But the two men yelled even louder!
Jesus heard them and stopped.
The mother of James and John had come to Jesus and respectfully knelt before she asked her favor. These two blind men just yelled at the top of their lungs in desperation. And Jesus asked them the same question He had asked His disciples’ mother, “What do you want me to do for you?” Matthew 20:32 NLT
“Lord,” they said, “we want to see!”
Jesus touched their eyes and instantly they could see. (vs 34)
The disciples could see, but they were blind to what God was doing, so when Jesus asked what they wanted they said authority, position. Wrong answer.
The two men at the side of the road were blind, but they could see what they really needed, so when Jesus asked what they wanted, they asked for Him to do what only He could – they wanted to see. And they received what they asked.
I find myself thinking of this same question almost every morning. “What do you want me to do for you?” What would you ask for? What do you ask for? Like the blind men some of us have very specific physical needs. And like the disciples, many times we are blind to what we really need.
Each time I “hear” this question, early in the morning as my day begins, I reveal my heart. Am I walking in the flesh or in the Spirit.
Some times in weakness, I ask for things that I perceive will help me short-cut the process of living. You probably know these requests well enough, instant weight loss, winning the lottery, being a better athlete, instantly fixing big world problems like racism and abortion.
Other times, in honesty, I just shake my head and say, “Nothing, Lord, I’m good. I just want You. I just want to follow You today.”
Because I realize Jesus is Lord, and He is working His plan in the world, and my life journey, and yours, are part of that. God’s will be done. No shortcuts.
Dear one, what do you want Jesus to do for you? Think about what you’re asking, for it reveals your heart. It might lead you to repentance for selfish thinking, or, it may reveal your contentment with knowing Jesus, and being known of Him, contentment which will bring great peace to your day.