What do you want me to do for you?

Jesus said to Bartimaeus ” what do you want me to do for you”

Bartimaeus replied  “that I might see again”.

If that question was addressed to you by Jesus,our Lord and Saviour,what would your answer be?

If we read the whole of Chapter 10 in Mark’s Gospel we will see a large and huge contrast.

The first parts of the chapter are concerned with the disciples and others understanding the Kingdom of God.  They wrestle with divorce, they mull over having to give things up to follow Jesus, they argue over who will be the greatest, who will be able to sit at Jesus’ right hand in glory.  They prevent the little children coming to Jesus and they can’t get their heads round the death that Jesus predicts is coming.  They are struggling and arguing and getting it wrong and being amazed and then we meet Bartimaeus.

Bartimaeus who has nothing – not even a first name recorded in Scripture.  Bartimaeus who has to beg for money because he cannot work and has no value in society, Bartimaeus who lives on the outskirts of Jericho because he isn’t welcome in the centre of town.  Bartimaeus who can’t see anything, yet recognises Jesus.

A blind man recognises Jesus, when his disciples are struggling to understand.  A blind man knows who he is “Son of David” when the disciples still struggle to call him Messiah, a blind man who wants Jesus to have mercy on him when the disciples are wanting to know who will receive the most power from Jesus.  A blind man, who the people walking alongside Jesus try to stop from getting at Jesus.

This is the man who halts the Lord’s progress to Jerusalem, who receives love and compassion and attention from him.  It is the least little beggar who Jesus stops to serve “What do you want me to do for you?” he says.  The mighty king asking the humble beggar what he might do to help him.  All Bartimaeus wants is to be able to see – yet of anyone in this chapter of Mark it is him who sees most clearly.

Your faith has made you well Jesus tells him.  Bartimaeus has been called by Jesus, he has been healed by Jesus, he immediately follows him on the way – he becomes one of his disciples.

It takes a blind man to see God’s Kingdom at work in the world.

So where are we in this?

Are we like the disciples – struggling to understand who Jesus is?  Are we like those who try to stop Bartimaeus getting to Jesus – do we get in other people’s way?  Or are we the one in need today, do we need Jesus’ mercy and grace? Are we able to cast our own pride aside and ask Jesus to have mercy on us?

Too often we use our lack of understanding as an excuse – but faith is not about knowing every answer it is about trusting.

Sometimes we say the cost is too much – how can the cost be too much for eternal life?

Sometimes we get in the way of others – our attitude, our lack of compassion, our lack of generosity, our desire to keep things our way prevents other people from even getting to Jesus.

Are we too afraid to fully depend on Jesus and be prepared to have him serve us?

What do you want me to do for you? says Jesus

Perhaps we need to ponder that offer in our lives.  What do we want the Saviour of the world to do for us? How can we trust and depend on him that much to be willing to let him serve us?

How can we let go of ourselves: our desire for power, for money, for control, for organisation, for perfection, for things our way and let God serve our needs?

Bartimaeus painted bu Chris Higham
Bartimaeus painted by Chris Higham

The Cock Crowed

AVA--12--2

“Following the Denial’

by Chris Higham

The Cocked Crowed

While all this was going on, Peter was down in the courtyard. One of the Chief Priest’s servant girls came in and, seeing Peter warming himself there, looked hard at him and said, “You were with the Nazarene, Jesus.”
He denied it: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He went out on the porch. A cock crowed.
The girl spotted him and began telling the people standing around, “He’s one of them.” He denied it again.
After a little while, the bystanders brought it up again. “You’ve got to be one of them. You’ve got ‘Galilean’ written all over you.”
Now Peter got really nervous and swore, “I never laid eyes on this man you’re talking about.” Just then the cock crowed a second time. Peter remembered how Jesus had said, “Before a cock crows twice, you’ll deny me three times.” He collapsed in tears.     Mark 14:66-72   The Message ”

                                    

As Jesus predicted, Peter denies his association with him. Jesus also predicted the same for all his other disciples, but Mark doesnt narrate their betrayals. Peters is interwoven with Jesus trial, thus contrasting true confessions with false ones. Peters actions are first described at the beginning of the trial, making this a sandwich narrative technique employed so often by Mark.In order to emphasize the faithlessness of Peter, the nature of his three denials increases in intensity each time. First he gives a simple denial to a single maid who claims that he was with Jesus. Second he denies to the maid and a group of bystanders that he was one of them. Finally, he denies with a vehement oath to a group of bystanders that he was one of them.It is worth remembering that according to Mark, Peter was the first disciple called to Jesus side (1:16-20) and the first who confessed that Jesus was the Messiah (8:29). Nevertheless, his denials of Jesus may be the most vehement of all. This is the last we see of Peter in Marks gospel and its unclear whether Peters weeping is a sign of repentance, contrition, or prayer.

This painting  by Chris Higham captures the broken Peter following his denial of his friendship with Jesus. Chris  has  painted  the disciple in as low a position as he can get. Down the steps in an dark alleyway , a desolate Peter his hiding away, crouched in a doorway. His hand against the door stopping him totally collapsing on the ground.

http://www.christian-art.org.uk/cgi-bin/ca.cgi?page=home.html

Betrayed

PENTAX Image

The Last Supper

by

Chris Higham

MAUNDY THURDAY

Most evenings we sit down for a meal with our family and tonight Jesus sits down in the upper room with his disciples who have become his family, his friends, his travelling companions, who have witnessed his miracles, who have heard his teachings but still they did not quite understand. But this wasn’t just a meal, it was to be jesus’ last meal with these friends and he knew it.
For on this very night Jesus will be betrayed by one of his friends, betrayed for 30 pieces of silver but for me the biggest betrayal was that Judas a used of a kiss, a sign of love to identify Jesus.
Before the meal began, Jesus knelt down to wash the disciples feet. This disturbed the disciples as it was the task of the humblest slave, whereas Jesus their master took it upon himself. Jesus got to know the disciples more closely by taking upon himself the role of their servant if you remember he said to them whoever wishes to become great among you, must be your servant and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.

In the “old upstairs downstairs” days good servants probably knew a lot more about their Masters mistresses then they let on. This however made them better servants, for by keeping their eyes open they can understand their employers needs and anticipate their demands. Was there something of this in our Lords decision to washes disciples feet? For he told his disciples to become servants of others just has he had become their servant: “if I your Lord and teacher have washed your fee”t he said” you also ought to wash one another’s feet for I have set you an example that you also should do as I have done. And to serve somebody you must learn about them what makes them tick, what their life experiences have been, who they are and how they think of themselves.
It’s very easy for a “do-gooder” to rush in and give someone what they think they need without taking the time to learn from them what they really need. You must get to know them and understand who they think of themselves to be and as we say where they are coming from for this you really need to look at them listen to the town of the voice and you may well learn a lot about them that they would never have been able to put into words themselves.

Jesus calls us to follow his example and to learn our neighbour stories by serving them he calls us to serve our neighbours as he himself served his disciples by washing the messy places in their lives with the love of God. Ask yourself whom Jesus is asking you to serve in all humility today.