Tri Robinson serves as pastor at The Rock Church.
In the 18th chapter of Luke starting in verse 35, we see an interaction between Jesus and a blind beggar named Bartimaeus.
Upon hearing that Jesus and his followers are on the road directly in front of him, Bartimaeus begins to cry out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.”
The leaders of this procession try to quiet him, but it says he cried out all the more. Jesus stops upon hearing this man and tells his followers to bring Bartimaeus to him. Jesus then asks him a very interesting question: “What do you want me to do for you?”
I am sure if I had the healing power of Jesus, I would have never asked Bartimaeus what he wanted. His need would have been glaringly apparent and I would have healed him of his blindness on the spot. Jesus waits for this man’s need to be his own request.
Jesus is a respecter of the free will that he has allowed us; it is the acknowledgment of the need and the request that brings significance to the miracle. Without Bartimaeus’ active participation, Jesus would only be imposing his own will upon Bartimaeus. It would be an act of showmanship and void of love as its motivation. Jesus stopping for this marginalized man shows the heart Jesus has for all people, that no one goes unrecognized in their time of need.
What would it have been like though, if Bartimaeus had requested healing for his finger, perhaps chronically sore from holding a beggar’s cup? What if Jesus healed it and Bartimaeus sat back down still blind and begging? What a tragedy and missed opportunity we would read of in that case.
Thankfully we see a man that recognizes his need to see and Jesus frees him from dependence upon a cup. In Matthew 16:15, Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Jesus doesn’t just issue statements, but he challenges us with many questions throughout the gospels. Bartimaeus calling out to Jesus as “Son of David” indicates that he understood Jesus to be the long-awaited Messiah. Bartimaeus would not be silenced; he recognized that the one able to heal him was right in front of him. Jesus welcomes and invites us all to consider these two questions: “Who do you say that I am?” and “What do you want me to do for you?”
Maybe you have never considered these two statements. I invite you to look into the person of Jesus, God in the flesh, this life that changed history. I invite you to read the Gospel accounts of his life and answer for yourself the question he asks: “Who do you say that I am?”
Maybe you have answered that question and come to know him as your personal savior. Then the next question is: “What do you want me to do for you?” Ephesians 3:20 says that he is willing do more than we could ever ask or think. Jesus has come to give us an abundant life, a life of satisfaction found in relationship to him. Ask him for what you need, invite him into your struggles and brokenness. He will hear and stop when you cry out to him.