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
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The Cock Crowed

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“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

They tried, but didn’t succeed.

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Pilate asked him, “Are you the ‘King of the Jews’?”

He answered, “If you say so.” The high priests let loose a barrage of accusations.  Mark 15;2

They tried and tried to tangle our Lord in barbed wire with questions ,clever questions they thought.

But nothing they said could hold him fast upon the wire.

He replied to their questions not with the answers that were hoped for,

for he answered not with words that would condemn him,

he answered with questions  which challenged their authority and understanding of the scriptures.

They tangled him in the wire because he knew his hour had come.

Nailed to the Cross for us and for our salvation,rising on the 3rd day, no longer held by the wire.

Escaping  the wire that held him,   setting us free to bear witness to his teaching here on earth.

Margaret Preuss-Higham

CARRY YOUR CROSS AND FOLLOW ME.

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Jesus call us to take up our cross.

MARK 8.34-38 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel will save it.  For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?  Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Today we are challenged by Jesus to take up our Cross. We carry the Cross, we received at our baptism. However, just because we wear it and carry it doesn’t mean to say that live our life any differently from those who don’t wear the Cross. We have to chose to live by the cross,to follow Christ,listen to his teachings and carry them out.To carry the Cross will not be a walk in the park , it is not to been viewed as the  road to wealth and ease. It will be a life of self denial and sacrifice, a walk towards the riches of a deeper relationship with God.

I found this song by Scott Krippayne which I share below;

Cross of Christ

I will lay down the burdens I’ve spent my life bearing
And confess I’m a sinner for whom Jesus died
I will live every moment in the light of His mercy
And I won’t take for granted His loving sacrifice

I will carry the cross of Christ, hold to the hope I’m given
Reach out to those in need and show them love, yeah, yeah
Yeah, with all of my soul and strength, as long as my heart is beating
I’ll follow the one who laid down His life for mine
And carry the cross of Christ

I will make it my mission to serve those around me
To care for the broken and pray for the lost
I will walk in the footsteps of my Lord and my Savior
And I’ll live out the gospel no matter what the cost

I will carry the cross of Christ, hold to the hope I’m given
Reach out to those in need and show them love, show them love
Yeah, with all of my soul and strength, as long as my heart is beating
I’ll follow the one who laid down His life for mine
And carry the cross of Christ

And I will not lay it down ’til I lay it at His feet
No, I will not lay it down ’til I touch eternity, yeah

I will carry the cross of Christ, hold to the hope I’m given
Reach out to those in need and show them love, show them love
Yeah, with all of my soul and strength, as long as my heart is beating
I’ll follow the one who laid down His life for mine
And carry the cross of Christ

I will carry the cross of Christ, hold to the hope I’m given
Reach out to those in need and show them love, show them love
Yeah, with all of my soul and strength, as long as my heart is beating
I’ll follow the one who laid down His life for mine
And carry the cross of Christ