Mark 10: 46-52
Then they came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road. When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him here.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you.”
Throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus. And answering him, Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And the blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!”
And Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road.
On first reading of this passage, something sticks out as odd. Why did Jesus ask what Bartimaeus wants? Isn’t it obvious? Let’s think through this passage to understand Jesus’ question and ask some questions of our own.
Mark pinpointed the identity of the blind man by giving his and his father’s name. From the disdain in the crowd’s voices, I get the sense that they knew him. Were they supposing Bartimaeus or his parents did something that made him deserve blindness? Perhaps they thought that since Jesus passed Bartimaeus by on the way into Jericho, that Jesus had already dismissed him on the way out. Maybe he wasn’t worth the teacher’s time. Beggars were such a nuisance.
Bartimaeus yearned to be changed and didn’t hold back shouting for Jesus, despite the crowd. Am I one of the crowd holding others back from Jesus, because I’ve written them off as too messed up to be changed? Or am I holding back from calling to Jesus because of the crowd? Am I cowed into thinking I’m not worth Jesus’ attention? Am I too embarrassed to admit my need?
When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was on the road, he screamed for mercy not money. He called, Jesus, “Son of David.” This title identified Jesus’ royal lineage and Him as Messiah, the King of Israel. Bartimaeus hollered for help and believed Jesus’ had the ability to give it.
When I cry out to Jesus, do I think about who He is? Do I believe Him to be my Messiah, trusting He can and wants to do something about my need? Do I bow to His will as my king or demand it’s my way or the highway?
The crowd assumed Jesus was ignoring Bartimaeus, but Jesus stopped dead in His tracks. He didn’t go to Bartimaeus or speak to him. As the crowd skidded to a stop, Jesus told them to invite the blind man over. Jesus taught them to soften their hearts by interacting person-to-person.
Bartimaeus didn’t smirk at the crowd at their comeuppance or question their sincerity. He threw off his coat, his greatest possession, and rushed to Jesus’ voice. This is when Jesus asked that odd question. “What do you want Me to do for you?”
Strong’s Concordance translates Bartimaeus’ reply, “to look up, to recover sight.” Could his plea for regaining sight also be for recovery of spiritual sight? Using a question, Jesus positioned Bartimaeus to realize his truer need.
Jesus asks me, “What do you want Me to do for you?” Do I ask for physical healing? Change in circumstances? Spiritual healing from doubt? I have known the devastating loss of trust, stripped of vision left blind and wandering in a fog. I beg for something but not sure what it is. Do I want His presence? Purpose? What do I think will satisfy me?
How did Jesus answer Bartimaeus? He restored, “saved, healed, preserved, rescued” Bartimaeus’ sight, as expanded by Strong’s concordance. Matthew’s Gospel tells us that Jesus, out of compassion, rescued Bartimaeus .
Through belief in Jesus’ identity and through asking, Bartimaeus left his beggar life to look up with vision and travel Jesus’ road.
Is something making you hesitate to call out to Jesus? Are you ashamed that you don’t have it all together? Do you feel you should get yourself in order without help? Or are you afraid Jesus will walk by without a glance?
Do you know what you want? What is your greatest need?
We don’t receive answers until we ask, but in the simple act of asking, we are believing. Trust Him no matter His answer. Jesus may answer with surprising questions which lead to more than you anticipate. Don’t be afraid to think it all through. His healing will be whole and will answer your truest need.