What Do You Want Me To Do For You?
By Pastor Jerry Donovan
The story of Bartimaeus is found in Mark 10:46-52. The setting is in the town of Jericho, just 22 miles from Jerusalem. Jesus and his followers are passing thru this town on his journey to the cross. The blind beggar Bartimaeus sat in the dirt alongside the road as all these people passed by. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Some people told him to come, and then there’s a special moment, the cloak comes off and he goes. So why did he throw off that cloak? Maybe when it comes down to it he was ready to face the Son of David, no protection, no shield, no reminder of who he was before that moment when he called out to Him and put his life in Jesus’s hands. Or maybe he thought Jesus would be angry, because he disturbed the festivities, the parade into Jerusalem, after all who is he to Jesus he thinks. Nobody!
But he was wrong, so wrong about him. He knew the moment he came face to face with Him, from the moment he stood eye to blind eye. He wasn’t like that at all. Yes, He was the King, the Son of David, but he didn’t need to worry, he never needed to fear, because Jesus cares with all the blindness, the doubts, He cares, and He asks him with such compassion? “What do you want me to do for you?” And it feels like such a gift that question, he didn’t know this at the time, he will only find this out later as the story is retold to him, that Jesus had just asked that question to his disciples, “what do you want me to do for you?” Do you know what they wanted? They wanted to sit with Jesus on his right hand and his left, it wasn’t the answer Jesus wanted. And maybe if Bartimaeus had known that story maybe he would have answered differently.
Maybe if he had been in his right mind he would have asked for something or for someone else, for everyone else, peace, justice, an end to hunger or war, or disease. He’d want to be a good steward of this opportunity, because whatever he asked, Jesus has the power to grant it. But then like a child, he answered; my teacher, my lord, let me see again.
And it happened. In a moment he could see. And not only that, the hurt and the despair were gone, and he was well, too. He was whole, and he was free to go, Jesus said so, “Go your way.” He thought my way? My way?
My way is with you. Everything I have is yours, everything I am is yours, I’m not going to go my way, I’m going to follow you on your way, wherever the way leads. And you know now the way led to Jerusalem, to a wonderful festive celebration, which turned into betrayal, which turned into execution, which turned into glory; and his story became part of Jesus’s story,
He didn’t ask for world peace, or an end to war, or hunger, or disease. He asked for himself, and that’s exactly what Jesus wanted him to do, because once he was healed he committed to live his life for Jesus. Once he accepted the grace that was offered, he gave it all, he risked it all, he gambled it all, and he became an agent of peace, and justice to the world. It started with a healing, and it ended with service.
That all-important question, the same question that Jesus asked, is still asking, and will be asking, “What do you want me to do for you?”