What Do You Want Me To Do For You?
If someone comes up to you and ask you that question what would you say? Of course, much would go through your mind, and the answer will, most likely, depend on the circumstances and what you are going through. Now consider that Jesus is asking that very question.
Twice in the New Testament Jesus asked that very question to two different individuals or groups of individuals. The circumstances surrounding each are strikingly different and the answers are also, revealing much about the hearts of the respondents.
In Mark 10:36 Jesus asks James and John this question in response to their statement, “Teacher we want you to do whatever we ask.” Whereas in the same chapter, in verse 51 Jesus asks Bartimaeus the same question in response to his statement, “Son of David, have mercy on me.”
The two disciples answered Jesus with a request that ultimately He said ‘it was not his to give.’ In other words Jesus was not able to comply with their request, whereas He told Bartimaeus in verse 52 “ Go your way, your faith has made you whole.” Two totally different situations get two different, surprising reponses. WE would think that the ‘sons of thunder’, James and John, later to be two of the pillars of the early church, would get whatever they wished. After all they were 2 of his 3 main disciples. In fact we see in verse 41 that the other disciples were displeased with them, but Jesus called them to Himself.
I can imagine these two had an intimate relationship with the Son of God, whereas Bartimaeus was a blind man who couldn’t see and was totally dependent on others, and just happened to be there when he heard Jesus, Son of David coming by and he cries out for mercy. That was an awesome act of faith because Jesus told him that act of faith had made him whole, giving him sight. On the other hand the two close followers asked something Jesus couldn’t answer, and they really didn’t understand what they were asking.
What we have here in these verses are a good example of how we can all make things complicated. I love being intimate with Jesus, and hearing His voice and how much He and the Father love me. But, like so many I too can be like James and John. Not that I’ve ever asked anything to that magnitude, just it’s a matter of the heart. Blind Bartimaeus and the two brothers represent different phases of who we really are. In other words, sometimes we are just desperate and we cry out for Jesus to have mercy on us. Other times we are so close and intimate we forget that kingdom of God is not like the kingdoms of this world. To be great is to be a servant. The way up is down.
Remember next time you are sitting at the feet of Jesus and He asks you what do you want me to do for you, that you are here to serve others and that by doing so you are serving Him. And when you are in a dire situation and cry out, have faith to believe He will do what you need.