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:

  1. "What are you seeking?" (John 1:38)
  2. "Do you want to be healed?" (John 5:6)
  3. "Do you love me more than these?" (John 21:15)
  4. "Whom do you seek?"(John 18:4)
  5. "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.


  1. Take a moment to consider your own heart and motives. Is there a desire or intention that you've been holding back or concealing?
  2. 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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Read through the Bible daily with Vince Miller.

11 thoughts on “The Man Who Exposes Our Desires

  1. Woody Arthur says:

    My desire is to grow stead fast in Gods word and grow stronger in my faith. I pray what ever Gods work for me be placed in me and Gods will work in me.

    • David Josker says:

      I desire to be a good and faithful servant, but I struggle mightily in so many ways on a daily basis. Lord, I need your constant guidance and direction.

  2. Doug Wiley says:

    I like that this group of people that came to arrest Jesus with weapons when Jesus says “I am he” they step back and fell to the ground

  3. Ryan says:

    I struggle with evaluating my desires in regard to their alignment with His will for my life. The accuser of the brethren would have us believe that everything we do for the Lord comes from a wrong motivation or desire. Dear Lord, please help me see the truth in this area. Help me to better recognize what is real conviction from the Holy Spirit and what is accusation from the accuser. Amen.

    • Sean says:

      Lust of the eyes towards younger flesh, especially young ladies around 20. This whether in the church or on the train.

      I want to be able to see a beautiful woman and just appreciate this beautiful creation of God. I want to be able to pursue a wife without decietful lust in my heart.

      Everyday multiple times I am asking God to forgive the deceitful lust in my heatt.

    • Eddie Ackerman says:

      I love my wife, lust for my wife, and yet, I still find myself tempted to stare at other women with lust in my heart. God, please help me to keep my eyes on You and Your will for my life and desires and to fight the enemy and his temptations. God, please help me be like Job and make a covenant with my eyes to not look at another woman, that is not my wife, with lust in my heart. Job 31:1

  4. Trent says:

    I secretly, and shallowly, desire wealth. I want to travel if and when i want. Have nice things, home, cars,I want to be able to aquire all that I need when ever I need it. I want to be able to fix everyone’s everything with the power of my wealth. I want to be able to give to others in a way that changes their lives. I want to need nothing and no one’s help. I. I. I. Me and my wealth. There is no mention of God there who will, has and is, provide. Who is the one who actually fixes and gives and saves. I need forgiveness for wanting. Wanting things and wealth and glory no matter if I say it is for “serving others” or not, it is still for MY plan. MY desire. MY glory. My Agenda. Even my life is not my own, for I was bought with a price, neither is any of the wealth, things, or glory that i may “have” while here. Forgive me Lord for my selfish desires.

    • Darrell C. says:

      Thanks Trent for sharing this. I too have secret desires of wealth. Lord I confess being wealthy is my desire. Lord Help me to trust you for all my needs.

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