When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
“Be quiet!” many of the people yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
When Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.” So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said. “Come on, he’s calling you!” Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked. “My Rabbi,” the blind man said, “I want to see!”
And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road. – Mark 10:46-52
Countdown to Easter:
Yesterday, Palm Sunday, marked the beginning of “Holy Week.” Starting with Christ’s enthusiastically received entry into Jerusalem, this week follows the rapid progression of events that led to The Last Supper (Thursday), The Crucifixion (Good Friday), and The Resurrection (Easter Sunday).
(If you were looking for Christ’s First Egg Hunt with the Easter Bunny (Saturday) in that list, then you may – like most of America – be a tad confused regarding what’s really going on here!)
I love the way Palm Sunday sets the tone for the week, making it startlingly obvious how Jesus constantly makes difficult choices going forward. We talked about this in my discipleship class, and agreed that Christ’s “Triumphal Entry” may well have been one more temptation thrown at Jesus – an echo of Satan’s whispers in the wilderness when he first launched his public ministry (Matthew 4:1-11).
“The crowds love you, Jesus,” I can hear Satan saying. “It wouldn’t take much to overthrow the powers-that-be here in Jerusalem and move into the palace… or you could even move into the temple – it’s yours anyway, isn’t it?”
But instead Jesus makes it abundantly clear that he has bigger plans, plans not limited by the constraints of time, and location, and ego. He looks at his disciples, he looks at the blind beggar he met coming through Jericho before the parade even reached Jerusalem, he looks at those of us who follow him today, and he asks this question: “What do you want me to do for you?”
Jesus – “What do you want me to do for you?”
- The disciples answered the question by arguing who among them was going to be the greatest in the Kingdom!
- James and John went so far as to request places of honor at Christ’s right and his left when he came into his glory (“You have no idea what you’re asking,” Jesus responded).
- But the blind man could already see, long before he saw, and he simply asked for mercy; and – he said – “I want to see!“
The blind man could already see, long before he saw, and he simply asked for mercy…
In her message, Rebekah outlines the pacing of the momentum the growing crowd carries, the rapid-fire sequence of connected events, all the way from the Transfiguration at the beginning of Mark 9 through to the Triumphal Entry in Mark 11.
The crowd grows, the momentum builds, and still Jesus continues to ask the question – “What do you want me to do for you?”
The AV people at church now offer a shorter version of the live-feed, featuring just the message. Click here to watch Rebekah preach, “What do you want me to do for you?”
It’s a great question. It’s a question we all should allow Jesus to challenge us with during these last few days leading up to Easter Sunday.
That’s why I’d like to encourage each one of you to show up for a Maundy Thursday observance at your local church, or participate in a Good Friday service… and – also – to spend some quiet time each day this week responding to Jesus and his timeless, continuous, invitational question – “What do you want me to do for you?”
This is an opportunity too amazing to let slip by!