Monday, May 1, 2017

What Do You Want?

"What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked. My Rabbi, the blind man said, I want to see!" 

Bartimaeus was a "blind beggar" according to Mark 10:46-52. We also know that he was the son of Timaeus. His father's name meant, "highly prized." However, Bartimaeus' name translates as, "a certain blind man." What kind of identity is that? 
How does the son of "highly prized" become  "a certain blind man" begging on the side of the road? Bartimaeus had become used to a life of begging others for the things he needed to sustain his life. However, when he heard that Jesus from Nazareth was nearby, 

he knew this would be no ordinary day....

I can imagine that like most of us, Bartimaeus was used to his daily routine. Get up. Set up camp by the roadside. Beg for his daily needs. Hope that he got enough from those who were willing, to make it through the day. But this day was different. Jesus was near by. Perhaps Bartimaeus had heard about this Jesus from Nazareth who was going around healing people; enabling the lame to walk, and restoring sight to the blind. I believe if he could have,  Bartimaeus would have loved to travel to those places where Jesus was performing these miracles, but it may have been that his condition prevented him from doing so. Can you imagine what he may have thought after hearing about these tales of healing...,"If only I could get there. I would ask Jesus to heal me..." Because of his condition, he was forced to live in such a way that limited how far he could go. Literally. He could only go as far as he had been, which was to the side of the road and beg as he had always done.

I wonder if Bartimaeus knew that when he woke up on that particular morning, it would not be business as usual. A chance encounter with Jesus would change his life forever. He didn't have to travel to where Jesus was, in essence Jesus came to him. As the large crowd passed by, Bartimaeus shouted, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" Many people nearby yelled at him and tried to quiet him. But that only made Bartimaeus shout louder! "Son of David, have mercy on me!" You see what this crowd failed to realize, was that Bartimaeus didn't know when  or if he would have this opportunity again. Jesus was near by and he wasn't going to miss him. How many of us take the presence of the Lord for granted? We assume that we have one more Sunday, or one more bible study to attend, and we forget that we have to seek the Lord while he yet may be found! Bartimaeus understood  the opportunity that lay before him. It didn't matter what what those around him said. He wasn't worried about what they thought of him and his condition. He needed to get to Jesus.

Jesus heard him. In the midst of the large crowd, clamoring for Jesus' attention, Jesus heard Bartimaeus call out to him. He instructed those around him to call Bartimaeus to him. Can you imagine what Bartimaeus must have felt with each step that  he took as he walked toward Jesus? He was getting closer and closer to the One who could change his life forever. The next thing Jesus says to him blows my mind, "What do you want me to do for you?"  Pay careful attention to Bartimaeus response. Those who were within ear shot of Jesus' question to Bartimaeus, might have assumed he would ask for what he had always asked for. Money? Food? Clothes? After all, he was a beggar, you know.....and beggars....beg. But Bartimaeus exuberantly responds, "Rabbi, I want to see!" So many of us seek the Lord asking for things which are directly connected to our condition. Tired of being lonely? "God send me a husband or a wife!" Constantly struggling with your bills? "God please send me more money!" Going through a difficult season in your life? "God, get me out of this!"

Bartimaeus asked to be made whole. He had faith that Jesus could do this for him, and because of his faith, Jesus granted his request to receive his sight. 

When we are healed and whole, we are much better equipped to handle the other "stuff" that occurs in our lives. Momentary fixes which do not address the real issues in our lives will continue to show up and we will come to think that our identity is somehow wrapped up in our condition. We will never get to the root of the problem because we are so busy trying to fix the symptoms and not the problems themselves. Only Jesus can can heal us in this way. He has a way of asking the right questions to get to the heart of the matter. It is my prayer for myself, and for you that when Jesus poses the question to us, "What do you want me to do for you?" we will respond much like Bartimaeus, with the appropriate response.

Till next time,
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