Sunday, February 7, 2016

I Want to See!

"What do you want Me to do for you?"

Imagine Jesus walking through the streets of your neighborhood. The crowd is stacked three-deep curbside. His people -- throngs of them -- are following close behind. His reputation as a healer and life-giver has preceded His visit, and you anxiously await your first glimpse of Him -- oh, wait! Not a glimpse at all. You have been blind since birth. But the crowd is going crazy; the noise is deafening. You know, He is here! So you begin to call Him, as loudly as you are able: "Son of David, Jesus, have mercy on me!" Those around you try to hush you; your cries are drowning out the crowd. But you know He is the One. "Have mercy on me, Son of David!" And Jesus tells His disciples, "Call him." What?! Really? He is asking for me? You immediately throw off your bulky long coat; you move toward Him as fast as you can. Your hands probing the crowd in front of you, your feet shuffling. And suddenly you feel His warm strong hands in yours. He draws you close, presses His forehead to yours, so you can hear His every word:

"What do you want Me to do for you?"

This morning, I was reading the account of blind Bartimaeus in Mark 10. And Jesus' question, as open-ended, as incomprehensibly blessed as it is, is not what got me. It was Bartimaeus' response:

"Rabbouni, I want to see!" Bartimaeus didn't tell Jesus, "I want You to heal me," which would have been the grammatically, contextually correct answer to the question. Bartimaeus responded from the depths of his heart. What did he want most in life? "I want to see!" His answer came out impulsively, spontaneously, unrehearsed. His answer was grounded in complete faith Jesus would give him just what He asked; Jesus was fully capable and Jesus was fully willing.

If Jesus appeared before me one afternoon as I was paying bills, and asked, "What do you want me to do for you?", how would I respond? I'm sure I would say something like, "Pay this bill'" or "Drop some cash into our checking account, please." Pay this bill? Pay this bill, really? One lousy electric bill? Is that all I believe He is capable of or willing to do for me? "Drop some cash..." What? I'm going to tell Him how to do it now? Maybe I should remember to "pray" the account number to Him just so there's no confusion. There are no limits on Jesus! Bartimaeus certainly didn't limit Him: "I want to see!" He didn't ask for his vision to improve a bit, or ask for Jesus to heal one eye. He didn't ask Jesus to give the doctors wisdom to know how to heal him. Bartimaeus spoke from the depths of his heart and made himself available to whatever Jesus wanted to do -- or wanted him to do, in order that he might see. He wanted transformation, and fully trusted Jesus to make it happen. "I want to be cancer-free!" "I want to be married!" "I want to be sober!" These are transformative, intimate, limitless, honest responses to what Jesus offers. These are the answers of one who wants more than change -- they want to be changed.

Just a few verses before, John Mark (probably) recounts an incident in which small children were rushing to meet Jesus. Jesus' disciples began turning them away -- after all, what would a teacher like Jesus want with a bunch of kids? But Jesus welcomes them, teaching those who heard that childlike faith is what is required to enter the kingdom of God (Mark 10:15). Bartimaeus was a perfect example of "childlike faith." Have you ever heard a father ask his child as they stand there listening for the carillon call of the ice cream truck: "What do you want me to do for you?"? "Oh, dearest, best, strongest Father (sort of like the rich young ruler in Mark 10:17), I would really appreciate it if you could reach into your wallet and remove the necessary funds to buy some ice cream for me. And, if you have found favor with me, perhaps I could have some jimmies on it. I could work really hard next week and repay you." NO!! "I want ice cream! -- with jimmies!" is what that child says. Simple. Childlike. No pretense. Fully confident. And fully aware that Dad is asking because he intends to give him just what he wants. Dad is capable of giving his child just what he wants. And Dad wants to see the confidence, the enthusiasm, the adoration on his child's face when he blurts out, fully yielded and fully invested, his answer to his father. "I want to see!"

What is it you want? What transformation is your hearts desire? Your Heavenly Father already knows what is in your heart before it is even on your lips. He is able to give good gifts far beyond those we ask from even our earthly fathers. What do you want Jesus to do for you?
  “'Go your way,' Jesus told him. 'Your faith has healed you.' Immediately he could see and began to follow Him on the road." Mark 10:52
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