“What do you want me to do for you?” If Jesus asked you this question, what would your answer be? In Mark 10:46-52 we meet a blind beggar named Bartimaeus who had the opportunity to answer just this question, and then received for more than he asked for.
Take a moment and use your imagination to put yourself in Bartimaeus’ shoes. We aren’t told how he became blind, but whether it was from birth or due to a disease or accident, blindness in that culture resulted in a forced career of begging. Day after day, he would have sat exposed to the hot sun in the dust, hoping for a few coins to be thrown his way to satisfy daily needs. It must have felt endless, each day long, hopeless and like the one before. There would have been no treatments, no programs and very little compassion and care extended. Can you relate?
A glimmer of hope begins to rise as rumors about a man named Jesus begin to circulate. People who were once plagued with physical limitations and ailments were now healed. Could there really be a chance at healing? Every day, Bartimaeus wonders if this will be the day Jesus walks by, ears straining for indications He is near. I wonder how many days he sat, nurturing this hope. Did he ever become discouraged in the wait? Then, during a day that felt like all the rest, as crowds of people walk by, Bartimaeus’ ears perk up, Jesus is near. Can you imagine the rush of hope that must have flooded over his soul? With abandon, he begins to cry out, to beg for Jesus to have mercy on him, to notice him, to see him as worthy of being helped.
The reaction of those around Bartimaeus as he cries for help is stunning. He is told to be quiet, and criticized for his behavior. They are embarrassed at his desperate cries for help. Didn’t he know his place? Surely a beggar is unworthy of the attention of someone like Jesus. Rather than listen to the “advice” of those around him and accept his situation and position in life, He yells all the louder. “Jesus, have mercy on me!” After years of depending on himself and other people for survival, he puts hope and faith in Jesus, seeing Him alone as the answer.
Jesus stops…he hears Bartimaeus’ cry. Jesus doesn’t go to Bartimaeus; instead he uses the very people who had told him to keep quiet, to invite him to come to where Jesus is. One moment Bartimaeus was on his knees in the dirt, arms outstretched, crying out at the top of his lungs for Jesus to have mercy, and the next he is running towards the sound of the voice he had been straining so long to hear. Despair shifts to hope. He hears Jesus speak directly to him and ask, “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus’ heart pounds in his chest as he says, “I want to see!”
What do you want Jesus to do for you? Is it healing from an illness or handicap, restoration of a relationship, financial blessing, a loving life partner, the ability to have a child, a career…? If you were to receive the thing you long for, would it satisfy?
Bartimaeus did receive his sight, a direct answer to his cries for mercy. After he was healed, the Scriptures say Bartimaeus followed Jesus. I suspect that he gained more than his eyesight. He saw Jesus and realized his deepest desire wasn’t for physical sight; it was for a relationship with Jesus and spiritual sight.
Are you feeling discouraged, afraid, anxious, lonely or confused? Do you find yourself in the middle of what appears to be an impossible situation? Cry out to Jesus. Ask him for spiritual eyes to see, and give you the strength to completely trust in a loving and good God.
Philippians 4:6-7 “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” The Message