DayBreaks for 2/26/16 – A Not-so-Stupid Question

DayBreaks for 2/26/16: A Not-so-Stupid Question

Mark 10.46-52 captures the story of the healing of the blind man, Bartimaeus.  Bartimaeus, as I’ll call him, (not to be confused with Bartimaeus Simpson!!!) cried out for Jesus to have pity on him.  Notice what happened when he and Jesus wound up face to face:  Jesus asked him a seemingly stupid question, “What do you want me to do for you?”

An outsider would say, “Well, Jesus, isn’t it obvious?   I mean, here’s a blind man, he can’t see!  What do you think he wants you to do for him, give him a new pair of shoes?!?!”  Ahhh – but there was more behind Jesus’ question than the obvious, I think. 

By asking the question, Jesus made Bartimaeus stop and think.  What did he really want from this “Son of David”?  He could have asked him for anything: a home, a chariot, to win the Jericho lottery that week, for a beautiful wife or loving children.  But he didn’t.  He wanted to see!  But Jesus question is still important for another reason: Bartimaeus needed to consider the implications of having sight.  It’s like Jesus was asking, “Are you really ready for the responsibilities of being able to see?  Have you thought it through?”  All of his life, Bartimaeus had been a beggar.  He’d never had to work, and while the wages of begging probably weren’t all that great, now he’d have to learn a skill, a trade.  He couldn’t beg anymore.  Being able to see is a wonderful gift, but it also carries with it the responsibility of seeing reality and reacting to it appropriately.

Several points:

  1. Jesus wants us to ask him for what we really want – and he wants us to carefully consider what we ask for and the price of getting what we want;
  2. Jesus, by coming into the world, has cleared up our vision, and because we have “seen” Him, we have seen the Father (John 14.9). Now we have no excuse for our blindness or remaining ignorant of the evils and wrongs done in this world and along with being able to see comes the responsibility to act as those who can see.

Have you cried out to the Lord to ask for something?  Jesus response to you is the same as that to Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?”.  It is a wonderful thing to follow Someone who cares enough to ask that kind of question and powerful enough to give us whatever we ask for.  But he’s not a cosmic vending machine who exists just to grant our requests.  He gives us things to use for His purposes, He has given us sight to see the truth, and He expects us to live changed lives as a result of being able to see the difference between right and wrong, truth and falsehood, light and darkness.

Just as the promise of Isaiah 35.5 came true for Bartimaeus, “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened…”, Jesus won’t refuse you, either.  Carefully consider what you ask for and also ask for the wisdom to use your sightedness correctly.

TODAY’S PRAYER:  Father, open our eyes to see your glory.  May we see your will for us clearly and may we live it faithfully.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 3/30/15 – THE Question

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DayBreaks for 3/30/15: THE Question

Mark 10:51a (NIV) – “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

The verse above comes for the story of the healing of the blind man that Jesus encountered along the Jericho road.  Bartimaeus had been doing what he had done for many years – in fact, it was the only thing he could do: sit by the roadside and beg for money.  Jericho was a prosperous area, so Bartimaeus may have done fairly well, especially considering the Jews considered it righteous to give alms to the poor and disabled. 

Still, day after day, month after month, year after year, he would sit by the road and call out as he heard people passing by.  Some would give, others, I’m sure, walked right past him, either all engrossed in their own conversation and thoughts, or pretending not to notice him.  Thinks really haven’t changed much in 2000 years, have they?

Bartimaeus yells out to Jesus who hears him, stops, and instructs the disciples to have the man come to him.  The blind man jumps up, throws his coat aside (which probably was what he used to collect donations) and goes to where he’d heard the voice of Jesus.  And then Jesus asks the question – the question that at the surface seems so silly: this is a blind man after all…what do you think he would like you to do for him, Jesus?

Don’t rush past that question.  It is an important one – a very important one!  Wrestle with it.  Jesus didn’t just ask it of Bartimaeus.  I think He is asking it of each of us or it wouldn’t have been recorded in Scripture.

It is oh, so easy, to rush to give the approved Christian answer, but please don’t.  What is it that your soul really wants and longs for?  What is it that you think would really, truly bring you satisfaction and peace?  You may think it is a certain career.  You may believe it is the “perfect” spouse for you.  It may be that a child that you and your spouse long for.  Those things aren’t bad.  But are they really the thing you want Jesus to do for you?

I would imagine Bartimaeus though the question strange, but if he did, he didn’t let it show.  I suspect that we, like Bartimaeus, don’t really know what it is that we are longing for.  Bartimaeus thought it was his sight.  But what happens after he gets what he asked for shows that he learned a lesson that we may not have grasped: when Bartimaeus answers the question, he says “Rabbi…”  This isn’t the typical word used for a rabbi – a teacher.  This was a special word that was usually only used when addressing God in prayer.  The blind man, you see, is the only one who was seeing with crystal clarity: the man before him was God.  And then, after he received his sight, it says he “followed Jesus along the road.”  The verb tense is that he continued following Jesus.  And in doing so, I believe he found what it was that he really wanted. 

When this sermon was preached at church on Sunday, I asked myself how I would answer the question.  I honestly am not sure what my answer would be, or is.  I know what I’d hope it would be, what I think God wants it to be – but is that really what my heart soul is longing for? 

How about you?  What is it that you really want from Jesus this holy week and beyond?

PRAYER: Jesus, cause us to honestly seek for what You created us to long after and not just to give the trite, pat answer we think we should say!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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