As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city,
a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging.
When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.”
Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. (Mark 10:46-52)
There are two things that bother me about this passage.
“Do I know what I need?” The first is that Jesus, upon seeing a man obviously blind, needs to ask him what he wants. I would assume that, if a blind beggar has the temerity to shout at the Son of David, “Have mercy on me,” then Jesus would know what the man needed? That, however, may not be the point. Perhaps the point is, “Did Bartimaeus know what Bartimaeus needed?”
The second bothersome question is, “Do I know what I need?”
In other words, in what areas of my life am I as blind as poor Bartimaeus?
In this matter, Ol’ Bart is probably smarter than poor Jim. At least he knew what his greatest need was. Do I?
What is the one thing you would request of God’s mercy if the Lord were to ask, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
I, too, am blind in many ways. Like the father of the boy with an evil spirit, I find myself saying, “Lord, I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).
Since I have already received from the Lord the greatest gift, eternal salvation, then what more could I ask for? Do I know?
- Paul said he wanted to know Christ above all else (Phil. 3:10).
- Bartimaeus wanted to see.
- Solomon asked for wisdom.
- Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit.
There is no single correct answer for every Christian, but there is a right answer for me–and for you.
If I really knew what I needed, I wonder how my prayer life would change. How many things would I stop seeking while I began to pursue those things that were most needful? In how many ways do I spend money on what is not bread and labor for what does not satisfy my soul (Isa. 55:2)?
Chapter 55 in the Book of Isaiah reminds us that the most important and satisfying things in our lives are those that cannot be purchased with money: Wisdom, knowledge, sight, and salvation. Eating what is good satisfies the soul, and we delight in the richest of fare. Jesus said that His food was to obey God, “to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work” (John 4:34).
Like Bartimaeus, I am blind in so many ways. I don’t even realize how many things that I don’t see.
So I choose to respond to the Lord’s question,
“What do you want Me to do for you?” with “Lord, I want to see.
I want to understand, comprehend, and know what is in front of me and to do wisely what You created me to do.”
Perhaps then, like Bartimaeus, I can move from simply being a beggar who blindly stumbles through life to becoming a disciple who purposely follows Jesus down the road.