Desperate But Hopeful
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see. Mark 10:51 (NIV)
Take a moment and imagine with me that Jesus has come to visit and as the two of you are having lunch, He turns to you and asks, “ What do you want me to do for you?” This catches you by surprise and after an awkward moment of silence, your thoughts begin to race… Should I ask for something spiritual or can I ask Him for something that is totally related to my physical needs? As great as it would be to have wisdom—and as much as I may need more spiritual insight—my desire is for something of a worldly nature. Is it wrong to ask Jesus to change your current situation or would Jesus be happier if you asked Him to help the widows and orphans and create world peace?
To help answer this question, I want to introduce you to a blind man named Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus lived on a street that was lined with the lame, the sick, the disfigured and the blind. This street was located right outside Jericho and if you wanted to go to Jerusalem, you had to travel this road. Jesus and His disciples were headed to Jerusalem and as the crowd gathered around Jesus, He approached the street where Bartimeaus was sitting. Even though Bartimaeus could not see Jesus, there was a lot of commotion as Jesus passed by. Desperate for a miracle, Bartimaeus began to shout “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” As Bartimaeus shouted to Jesus, his friends who were just as desperate, told him to be quiet. The louder Bartimaeus shouted the more his friends tried to silence him. Bartimaeus was desperate and wanted his life to change more than he wanted the approval of his friends. So Bartimaeus had a choice: he could continue to sit with his disabled friends who were just like him or he could call on Jesus. The more they hushed him, the louder he got! “Lord, have mercy on me, Son of David” was his cry. Bartimaeus wanted the attention of Jesus and not the attention of others. Over all the shouting, Jesus told Bartimeaus to come to Him and Bartimeaus chose to listen to Jesus and leapt toward Him.
When you are desperate, you will do whatever it takes to find hope. Because Bartimeaus was blind, he had never seen the miracles of Jesus but he had heard stories about the power of Jesus. Bartimaeus knew his only hope was in the man named Jesus. Perhaps you have heard that “misery loves company” which is exactly what Bartimeaus faced. He could continue to be miserable with his friends or reach out to the only One who could change his life.
When Jesus heard the cries of Bartimaeus over his friends telling him to quiet down, He asked Bartimaeus one of the craziest questions imaginable: “What do you want me to do for you?” Surely Jesus knew what Bartimeaus wanted! I can’t help but wonder if questions aren’t God’s way for us to search our own heart. I truly believe God knows what we want more than we possibly could know what we want, but we must take time to answer the questions God puts on our heart. Bartimeaus did not hesitate to say, “I want to see.” Bartimaeus’ boldness healed his eyes but His grateful heart caused him to follow Jesus.
I love the underlying message in the healing of Bartimaeus. First, when someone is desperate for Jesus, they will not be concerned what others think. Secondly, what we think we want may not be what we really want. We need Jesus to look into our hearts and ask us the question, “What is it that you really want?” Bartimeaus’ desperate cry got Jesus’ attention and his life was changed forever. Mark tells us that Bartimeaus left his disabled friends on that roadside and began to follow Jesus with a grateful heart. Scripture does not tell us that any of Bartimeaus’ friends called out to Jesus that day, but as they remained on that road with the lame, the sick, the disfigured, and blind, Jesus continued to travel to Jerusalem to die for all of them.
What changed Bartimaeus that day was not having eyes that could see but calling out to the One who not only can give you new eyes but a new life. We need to learn from Bartimaeus! We have a choice to either seek the approval of others or seek the One who gives us hope. It is after Jesus sifts the desires of our hearts and we examine for ourselves what we truly want that—with grateful hearts—we can follow the One who can change our life.
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