The Man Who Exposes Our Desires
Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” — John 18:4-8
Today, I want to focus on the question Jesus asks: "Whom do you seek?" You'll notice he asks this question twice. I think there is a reason for this.
But to see the reason, it might be helpful to see all the questions Jesus asks in the Gospel of John. There are nine of them (John 1:38; John 5:6; John 8:32; John 9:35; John 21:15; John 13:12; John 18:4; John 18:7; John 18:11). But five of the nine probe deep. Jesus asks a question that exposes a man's or men's desires. Here are the five:
- "What are you seeking?" (John 1:38)
- "Do you want to be healed?" (John 5:6)
- "Do you love me more than these?" (John 21:15)
- "Whom do you seek?"(John 18:4)
- "Whom do you seek?" (John 18:7)
I love that Jesus drives straight to the heart of the matter. It is as if he looks past the peripheral issues into a man's heart. And we know he knows what is there because John told us that Jesus knows earlier in this Gospel. Jesus knows the intentions and desires of all men (John 2:24-25).
So why does Jesus ask the question? If he knows the answer, why does he ask?
Jesus asks these probing questions not because he does not know but because he wants to ensure we know. He wants us to say it and expose it. He wants us to speak our desires so that we can see the connect or disconnect. Simply put, he wants us to know that we know so that he can point our desires in a new and holy direction. Or, in this particular case, Jesus asks the question to point out the egregious nature of these men's desires.
There are two great lessons in this. First, deep growth in faith requires deeper probing into the connection between our actions and desires. A believer always gives attention to their actions. But right actions done from wrong motives will always be wrong, even if they look right. Second, as believers who are also spiritual leaders, we have to work this out in our lives to work this out in others. The probing questions Jesus asks are discipleship and leadership tools that drive us and others toward a deeper and more integrated faith in God. So, while you should be exposing and integrating your desires, you should also do this work with others. Like in your marriage, in your family, and your church.
So start here. What desire do you need to expose and speak into the light today that requires a deeper integration today? Say it out loud in the comments below. Declare it as a confession and ask God to make his desires your desires, leading to a more holy and righteous action.
- Take a moment to consider your own heart and motives. Is there a desire or intention that you've been holding back or concealing?
- How might confessing it and seeking God's transformation help you grow in faith and become more aligned with His purposes?
DO THIS: Confess a desire out loud and ask God to align it with his desires.
PRAY THIS: Lord, I come before you today with a humble heart, seeking your guidance and grace to align my desires with your will, so that my actions may reflect your righteousness. Help me, O Lord, to expose and surrender any hidden motives and lead me on the path of deeper faith and obedience.
PLAY THIS: I Desire Jesus.
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