What a question! It kind of cuts right to the heart of the matter doesn’t it—direct, to the point, no messing around? It also gets to the heart of what we really believe about life, and about longing, and about God. Our answer to this little question tells us so much about what we most deeply desire, and what we believe God most deeply desires for us. In fact, if I’m really honest, it’s not the kind of question I would expect God to ask. I mean, “What do you want me to do for you?” How can he ask that question? Who knows what kind of crazy answer or response he might get. But now that I think about it…He knows. Ultimately I think this question is about longing, and about God’s desire for his beloved children to discover what their deepest longings really are. If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself. How would you answer that question? What is it that you want Him to do for you? Your answer to this question will tell you a good bit about what it is you really believe will make your life work?
For James and John it was to sit on his right and his left in glory. For them life was all about jockeying for position. Their answer to his telling question screamed, “I want to be somebody!” It showed their hand—the true state of their hearts—even after all the time they had spent walking with Jesus. It revealed that, in their heart of hearts, they still believed that position, importance, and significance were the things that would give them the life they were desperately longing for. They still didn’t really get it. They still didn’t really understand. They still didn’t really see.
Enter Bartimaeus, a blind beggar of Jericho and Jesus’ perfect opportunity to show his friends the true state of their hearts. Although James and John were not physically blind, they were still unable to see, and Jesus was going to use the blind man to show them that. For Bartimaeus the question was a different story altogether. For him it was easy, at least on the surface anyway. I want to see. I’m not completely sure whether his response was referring only to his physical sight, or something much bigger than that, but I am pretty sure that his response was bigger and deeper than he could’ve understood or imagined at the moment. It was almost as if he was saying: Open my eyes, Lord—literally and figuratively. Help me to see, really see. Help me to see life as it really is, and faith as it really is, and you as you really are. And low and behold, he is touched...and healed. And the first thing he sees once his request is granted—once his eyes are opened—is the warm and tender face of Jesus. And when he sees that face, in one incredible instant the deepest longings of his heart are met completely and his life, and more importantly his heart, are changed forever. Who knew?