Mark 10:36 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Mark 10:36, NIV: What do you want me to do for you?' he asked.

Mark 10:36, ESV: And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Mark 10:36, KJV: And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you?

Mark 10:36, NASB: And He said to them, 'What do you want Me to do for you?'

Mark 10:36, NLT: 'What is your request?' he asked.

Mark 10:36, CSB: "What do you want me to do for you? " he asked them.

What does Mark 10:36 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

James and John's request is not entirely without precedent. Jabez was a man from the tribe of Judah. He prayed that God would protect him from pain and enlarge his border. His request may refer to a geographical area where he could grow crops or feed his sheep, but it probably also meant he wished to have more power and influence. Jabez was known to be honorable, and God answered his prayer (1 Chronicles 4:9–10).

Years later, God approached David's son Solomon with an offer: "Ask what I shall give you" (1 Kings 3:5). Solomon asked for wisdom. God blessed his humble request by also making him the richest, most honored, and most landed king in Israel's history (1 Kings 3:3–14).

God doesn't mind when we ask Him for things. He gave us the ability to desire. Sometimes, our desires are exactly what He wants in that moment, like Mary of Bethany anointing Jesus with perfume (John 12:1–8). Sometimes our wishes are in God's plan, but the timing isn't right, like Paul's desire to visit the church in Rome (Romans 1:9–10). Other times, our desires aren't bad, they just aren't what God has in mind. Or, God simply has other people in mind, and not us, such as with Paul's attempt to preach the gospel in Asia (Acts 16:6).

Even our selfish desires provide us with an opportunity for growth, as James and John experience here. Jesus engages with James and John, drawing out what it is they want. Once they are honest about their desires, Jesus can lead them in the harder work of submitting those desires to God and altering their ambitions to fit into the kingdom of God. No matter our desire, when we approach God honestly with it, He can use that to make us more spiritually mature.