NORMAN — Ash Wednesday marked the beginning of the Lenten season and invites all who call themselves Christ-followers to prepare for Holy Week. How will you spend these next weeks preparing for Easter?
As Jesus traveled toward Jerusalem for His “triumphal entry” on Palm Sunday, He asked the same question in two different encounters (Mark 10). First, two of his disciples, James and John, approached Jesus. In typical fashion, they asked Jesus to blindly grant “whatever we ask of you.” In the second encounter, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, learned that Jesus was passing by and cried out “have mercy on me.”
Jesus responded in both instances with the same question, “What Do You Want Me to Do for You?” James and John asked for power and position, desiring to sit at Jesus’ right and left hand in the Kingdom. Bartimaeus asked for sight.
Jesus answered to James and John that theirs was a request that was not His to grant. To Bartimaeus, Jesus declared that his faith had made him well. Immediately, Bartimaeus regained his sight and began to follow Jesus.
So, what do you want Jesus to do for you? Wealth? Power? Love? Or, do you relate to Bartimaeus’ request: Sight. After all, don’t we all struggle with some degree of blindness? James and John were blinded by the possibility of power and position in the Kingdom. Their lust for these things made them unable to see that those who are great in the Kingdom of God serve and sacrifice on behalf of others. I wonder how my blind spots keep me from seeing and experiencing life, truth and Kingdom possibilities. I ask for blessings and Jesus invites me to be a blessing. I ask for forgiveness and Jesus tells me to forgive. I ask for neighbors (friends and community) and Jesus instructs me to be a good neighbor. It all seems so plain and clear, yet I am blind. Lord, help me to see. Jesus declared that faith allowed Bartimaeus to see. And, it is faith that allows us to see, to serve, to bless, to forgive and to be neighborly. Faith is the catalyst that opens our eyes and allows us to walk the road with Jesus and have the deep longings of our heart fulfilled.
I am struck by the timing of this question. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked on His way to Calvary’s cross. He already knew what James, John, and Bartimaeus needed. “Here is what I am going to do for you,” I can imagine Jesus answering, “I am going to lay down my life, so that you can see.” Through His death, sight is given to the blind; grace is given to the guilty; and faith is given to the unbelieving. Lord, give us the faith to see.
Easter is approaching. What do you want Jesus to do for you?