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?