Answering [Bartimaeus], Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And the blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!” And Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road. (Mark 10:51-52)
Jesus’ question to Bartimaeus, the blind beggar of Jericho, seems unnecessary. Why ask a blind person, “What do you want me to do for you?” But isn’t it the question that Jesus is asking all of us? It’s a question that tests the focus and resolve of our faith—that’s what He is looking for.
Bartimaeus demonstrated focused faith in four ways:
- When He heard that the commotion was in response to Jesus the Nazarene, he cried out. He had high expectations of the mercy of the Son of David. No one could deter him. Lies about being an unworthy, second-class citizen did not stick. He persisted.
- On learning that Jesus was calling for him, he threw off his cloak, jumped up, and elbowed his way through the crowd to Jesus. He refused to allow even his legitimate limitations to be an excuse for remaining in his condition.
- Bartimaeus boldly responded with the obvious, “I want my sight back.” He believed that Jesus had the will and the means to restore his sight. He could have pointed to his other need. “Let me win the lottery so that I never have to beg again.” What about those partial solutions to blindness and poverty? Bartimaeus might have chosen a better cane, a helper to lead him around and guard the begging bowl, or an all-expenses-paid home. All sensible and useful—but short sighted.
- His was no quick fix to enhance life in his roadside niche. Everything changed for Bartimaeus. Jesus became his focus. He followed Him.
How do we respond to Jesus’ unspoken question to us? When we bring our requests to Him, do we boldly seek His highest will for us or do we assume that a partial solution is most likely? Jesus always calls to us from far beyond the range of our natural sight and hearing. He has the capacity and desire to give us the very best. But perhaps we are blind to that truth. Do we feel unworthy? Maybe we are too polite to ask for the best portion. Sometimes we are only looking for a quick blessing to improve our present condition—like the comfort of a cushion for hard ground.
Focused faith propels us up and away from our established discomfort to follow Jesus into increasing abundance of life.
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