This is the third part of a study looking at the story of Jesus and the healing of Bartimaeus the blind man in Mark 10.
Jesus has entered the town of Jericho and the crowd has gathered. Bartimaeus a blind man and beggar is on the side of the road and hears that Jesus is going by. He cries out to Jesus. The crowd tells him to be quiet and stay out of the way. But Jesus stops and tells the crowd to bring him forward. They go and get him and Bartimaeus leaps at the chance and goes to Jesus. Jesus asks him what he wants and when he says he wants to see, knowing that Jesus can give him his sight, Jesus heals him. Bartimaeus is healed and follows Jesus along the road praising God.
In part one we looked at what this story tells us about Jesus. In part two we looked at what the fact that Jesus loves everyone has to do with us. Today I want to go a different direction.
I want to focus on just the interaction towards the end between Jesus and Bartimaeus. After Jesus has him called up in front of everyone he asks him a question. Jesus asked a lot of questions. He ask Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?”
Now this is one of those questions that seems sort of weird at first glance. Jesus obviously can figure out that the guy is blind. But he asks him. Bartimaeus answers with what seems obvious. He wants to see. Jesus tells him that his faith has healed him and he can now see.
The first question to consider is why did Jesus ask him this. I can’t answer that for Jesus obviously. But I’ll speculate. First, maybe he wanted to make sure that he wanted to get well. As we talked about in the bible study on John 5, Jesus doesn’t force His healing on people. And He probably recognizes, as the man might, that if he does see, his whole life changes. He no longer is the beggar on the side of the road that can’t see. No more sympathy givers if he had any. He will have new responsibilities.
Perhaps also he wanted to make sure that he didn’t want something lesser. If you remember there is a story in Acts where Peter and John encounter a lame man. He is also a beggar. He asks Peter and John for money. That is what he knew to ask for. Peter of course gives him more. He is healed. But maybe that is why Jesus asks Bartimaeus. Maybe he just wants a good sum of money. Maybe he doesn’t want enough.
But Bartimaeus wants something big. He wants what only Jesus can grant, and he believes that Jesus can grant it. Therefore Jesus sees his faith and heals him. I could be wrong about all of the above. But this is what it makes me think about.
This leads me to think about us and Jesus. Here’s a question for you. What do you want? I want to think about this question in three ways.
First, do you really know what you want? Here’s what I mean. Do you know what you would answer Jesus with if He asked you that question straight up? We’re not making Jesus into a magic genie here. But if you cried out to Him and He stopped and said what do you want, what would your answer be?
Second. Is that what you really want? There are nearly 250 posts on this blog about singleness. I was single for over 20 years of my adult life. For a lot of that time if you would have asked me, my answer would have been I want a wife. But the thing is, that is not really my deepest want, although I did want that, and am glad for my wife now. I never stopped wanting it. But it stopped being the main thing that I wanted.
I think this happens in two ways. First, a lot of times what we want is something that we think will help us get something else we actually want. Sticking with the same example some people would say they want a spouse. But really at the core what they want is someone to love them no matter what. Or someone might want success but really what they want is people to respect them and they think success will get them that. We could come up with examples here all day long.
The important thought here is that you should ask at least a second question. Why do you want it? The answer to that might tell you what you really want.
The other way this happens is that as we mature, hopefully, our desires change. We want more, but less selfishly. I heard someone say once that you can tell a person’s maturity by what they want. I think that’s actually true. The closer we are to Jesus the more we want what He wants. It becomes less about our own selfish desires. In fact we might forego relief from suffering for something bigger, more eternal. That’s maturity.
Finally, is what you want big enough that only Jesus can give it to you? In other words do you want enough. I was once with a guy I was discipling and I asked him what he wanted. He said he wanted to be financially secure. I laughed (which was probably wrong) and said “Well I can give you that. Spend less than you make. I think the reason you’re stuck in your walk with Christ is that you don’t want enough.” I think a lot of us don’t want enough. We’re asking Jesus for pocket change and He knows we can get that ourselves. And probably should. Now I’m not talking prosperity gospel here. I’m talking about something bigger. Something more. Kingdom desire that we can’t do on our own.
So the question today is what do you want? No judgement here. You are where you are.
***For free today. This is actually a good evangelization tactic. As you get to know someone ask them what they want. Why do they want it? Go from there.