When the Word of God Asks Us a Question (Question 3 of 3)



January 31, 2022

Mark 10:51 NIV

51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.


There is a sense in which I always want to begin with Question #3. 

51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

There is a larger sense in which one must first answer Question #1 and Question #2.

Where are you? And, what are you doing here? 

So much to talk about with today’s text. Let’s begin with the one to whom Jesus asks the question, Bartimaeus, aka “Blind Bartimaeus.” 

Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Mark 10:46-47

Bartimaeus, a poor, blind and broken “son” sits by the roadside begging. We are in the large entourage of Jesus, on our way out of Jericho, about to get on that treacherous road en route to Jerusalem. Everyone thinks we are headed for the take-down of Rome and the exaltation of Jesus. He will be lifted up all right, in a way we never imagined, nailed to a Cross. 

Bartimaeus couldn’t “see” Jesus, but he “heard” it was him. It is doubtful that Jesus could “see” Bartimaeus, but we know he “heard” him. Bartimaeus was shouting, as loud as he could, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” He shouted so loud we get this:

48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Bartimaeus knew the answer to Question #1, Where are you? He knew the answer to Question #2, “What are you doing here?” And as a result, he knew the answer to Question #3, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Have mercy on me!,” he shouted. 

It’s fascinating to back up on the road a few miles and revisit the conversation between James and John and Jesus.

35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”

36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.

37 They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”

Same question. Different guys. Way different answer. 

Back up another click and parents are bringing their children to Jesus asking for blessing. Back up another click and a rich man is asking Jesus for eternal life. Back up another click and he is telling the story of a widow in front a wicked judge asking for justice. Jesus, in one way or another, is asking every single person in the world this question: 

What do you want me to do for you?

Only a person whose eyes have been opened to where they really are and what they are really doing there is aware of the true state of their real condition. Go back and read the text, and while you are at it read Luke’s telling in chapter 18. The true state and real condition of the human race (whether they know it or not) can be brought down to one word: Desperation. The rich have enough money to cover it up, until they don’t. The Pharisees down at First Baptist and Lost Methodist have enough respectability in the community to hide their desperation, until they can’t. But the poor, and the children, and the lepers, and the sick, and the blind—they can’t hide it. That’s why Jesus calls them “blessed.” So must we become those things in order to get the answer to the question right? No, we need only come to the ever deepening realization of our own desperation and respond to his question from that place of honest sobriety.

It’s interesting. Bartimaeus, an impoverished beggar, did not ask Jesus for money. Because he knew where he was and what he was doing there and who he was asking, he knew exactly what he wanted. He needed money. He wanted something money couldn’t buy. 

I want to see. 

Now “watch” what happens. 

“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. 

So Jesus, the Word made flesh, asking, “What do you want me to do for you?” 

O.K., I’ll go first. 

Lord Jesus, I want your joy to be in me and my joy to be complete. (John 15:11)

Your turn. 


Yes, Lord, thank you for asking. Holy Spirit, help me answer in a way worthy of the question and the one asking. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 


So why is it that we tend to ask Jesus for more of what we already have and don’t feel like we have enough of—as though more of what is not working or satisfying would somehow do the trick?  

P.S. What’s Next on the Daily Text?

On Tuesday, February 1, we will begin a slow walk through 1-2 Peter. (February 1 through April 17).  My working title for the series is, “The Gospel through the Eyes of a Fisherman.” This will be followed by a six week series through Colossians. Today, we begin the pre-sowing for the Daily Text Book (from this series) First Word. Last Word. God’s Word. Volume 2. 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt


Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.