Text: Matthew 20

Memorize: “He said to her, ‘What do you want?'” Matthew 20:21 NET

In two stories in sequence, Jesus asks people what they want. In the first, he asks “the mother of the sons of Zebedee [who] came to him with her sons, and kneeling down she asked him for a favor” (v. 20). And no small favor at that! In the second, two blind men cry for mercy, so he asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” (v. 32), as if he didn’t know already.

He denies the first, while he grants the blind men’s desires. With his questions about what they want, he shows both his willingness to consider the requests, at the same time indicating that he doesn’t fill in blank checks.

Paul asks the same question of the Corinthians, whose wants strayed far from the will of God (1 Corinthians 4:21). (In Greek, “want” is from the same family group of words as “will.)

Jesus doesn’t ask what people want so he can know; he seeks to probe those who seek something from him if they really know what they want, and if their wants reflect what God wants.

Do you know what you want from Jesus?

Word Cue: Want (Gr., thelo). The term expresses one’s will and shows that man’s will may not be that of God’s. Man has free will, given him in creation; its exercise is a part of what makes him fully human and its alignment with the divine will is what makes him fit for the company of God.

Prayer: Lord God, not what I want, but what you desire! Not my will, but yours be done! In the face of my changing wants, I thank you for your constant purpose and will, that seeks the ultimate good and that has been revealed for all time in your Word. Amen.

Action Question: Are my wants too many? Is the quality of my desires inferior to God’s?

3 thoughts on “What do you want?

  1. I have a good friend in the Church who once talked to me about “wants” and “needs”. He asked if I could go without it that day. Then if I could go without it the next day, then ultimately, if I could just go without my “want” or “need”. The application was saving money at the store. Do I need that quick treat I was going to grab? Or can I go home and utilize something else to satisfy that “need” or “want”.

    Come to find out, I have a lot fewer “wants” and “needs” than I thought I did.

    Nice article Randal,


What do you think?