Sunday, March 3, 2013
What Do You Want Me To Do For You?
Mark 10:51 Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.”
Mark 10:52 Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.
The blind man, Bartimaeus was sitting on the side of the road begging. Suddenly there was a lot of commotion and Bartimaeus wondered what was going on. Someone explained to him that it was Jesus from Nazareth who was entering the town. Bartimaeus may have been blind but he had been listening. Word of this man Jesus had reached his ears and what he had heard had him excited. This man was able to perform miracles so he began to cry out, "Son of David, have mercy on me." This very cry of Bartimaeus revealed his faith. Somehow he comprehended that there was something unique about this rabbi. He called him the "Son of David" -- could it be that he realized that Jesus was the Messiah? From the side of the road where he spent his time begging he cried out for mercy from this man whom he believed could be his Savior. Of course those around him thought he was being obnoxious. They tried to quiet him, but he just yelled all the more. If this Jesus truly was the Messiah and if he could do miracles, why not ask for help?
Jesus heard his cries for mercy and stopped right there in the middle of the road. He called to those around him to go and get this one who was crying out for mercy. Bartimaeus was so excited that he threw off his cloak, sprang up and went to Jesus. But then we discover this interesting dialogue between the two of them. Here is this blind man standing in font of Jesus. A man who was blind was not able to function as a whole person in society. They could not provide for themselves and they had to beg for help just to have enough sustenance for each and every single day. Bartimaeus had been crying out for mercy -- so Jesus looks at him and says, "What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus could have just healed the man but there was something that happened in that transaction. Jesus wanted to hear from Bartimaeus about his need and Jesus treated him with respect. Bartimaeus' response is interesting. He calls Jesus, "My teacher." As far as we know they had never met one another before but already Jesus is "my" teacher. This is a declaration on the part of Bartimaeus that Jesus -- you are my Rabbi. I am going to be your student, I believe in you, I have faith in who you say that you are. Therefore his response is a declaration of faith, and then a request for sight. Jesus' response addresses Bartimaeus' confession because he tells him that it is his faith that has made him well.
Something synergistic happened in that moment when Bartimaeus was able to declare that Jesus was his master and that he wanted to be healed. Jesus says that it was his faith that healed him and immediately Bartimaeus gained his sight, but also became a follower of Jesus. A spiritual and physical healing occur simultaneously when the power of God was united with the faith of man. Bartimaeus was a transformed man who lived his life in obedience to God.
If we were to be confronted today with Jesus and he were to ask us, "What do you want me to do for you?" -- what would our response be to that question? We are reminded in scripture that we have not because we ask not. Do we have the tenacity of a Bartimaeus to sit on a road side and cry out to Jesus as he passes by -- even to the embarrassment of the people around? Bartimaeus knew that Jesus was what he needed! He was willing to do anything that he needed to get to the source of his salvation. It may have included looking like a fool for Christ's sake, but that didn't matter in light of the possibility of getting to see Jesus.
Bartimaeus knew how to answer Jesus; he knew what his need was. He needed a teacher -- and he needed to be able to see. If he had both of those in his life, he knew that his life would be radically transformed. Do we truly understand our need today? Would we know how to respond to the question posed by Jesus? Maybe we don't see answers to prayers because we are asking for "things" on a level which is not transformational. The hope for mankind is to enter into a personal relationship with the Teacher that will result in a radical transformation of our being. When that happens we are able to jump up with Bartimaeus -- throw off our cloaks and enthusiastically follow the Teacher wherever he may go. Is that what we want him to do for us today?
Lord, please help me to have transformational faith. Amen.