What Do You Want Me to Do for You?–Bart’s tale

This is an imaginative re-write of the story found in Mark 10:46-52:

It was hot and dusty; I felt my way along the rocky edge of the road, until I found an outcropping of rocks big enough to sit on, out of the way of the road, but close enough I could get a traveler’s attention. Settling the folds of my tattered cloak around me I held out my hands and began my routine chant, “Alms for the blind….alms for the blind,” with an added bridge, of “Shalom; God bless you,” each time a small coin was placed into my cupped hands.

Years had passed since the mysterious illness had robbed me of sight. At first, physicians had assured me it was only temporary. And a myriad of medical concoctions were prescribed. But slowly, when nothing worked, it became obvious I had been cursed. I could not put my finger on exactly what sin I had committed that had resulted in this punishment. I spent days fasting, praying, lying in sack cloths and ashes. But alas, I only grew week and tired. Eventually, my family had resigned themselves to my plight, and it became obvious that the only thing to do was throw myself at the mercy of the crowds who lived in my popular city. So here I was, day after day, along the road to Jericho, crying out for a small bit of help, a token of mercy from each passer-by.

On this sunny morning, I felt a strange, inexplicable hope, almost as if the air itself was sizzling with anticipation of something? But what? I had heard rumors that the Rabbi Jesus was or had been on his way to our town. People were talking about how he drew a crowd with his simple, yet authoritative message, how he feed a whole crowd with one boy’s lunch, and calmed a Galilean squall with a simple command. I had even heard the stories of those he had healed. And I wondered. Of course I wondered. Would I ever get the chance to ask hi to heal me? Would I ever see Jesus? I tried not to waste my time on hopeful fancies. But I couldn’t crush hope. It just welled up in me.

So when the cadence of a crowd reached my ears, I inquired what all the hustle and noise was about. No one paid attention to me at first, but finally someone on the fringe of the crowd said, “It’s Jesus! He’s coming this way with a group of his followers!”

Jumping up, I began to wave my arms and shout frantically, ‘Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!” My voice rose along with my hope.

But the crowd was impatient, annoyed by my cries. “Simmer down!” Several of them told me. I couldn’t! They just didn’t understand. Years of being blind and this was my only chance. My one hope! So I shouted all the louder, until I was beginning to get hoarse.

And just when I sensed I might have missed my chance, someone said to me, “Hey, cheer up! He’s calling for you!’

Throwing my cloak aside, and groping for the stranger’s hand, I allowed him to help me down from my perch and lead me to Jesus. As we stopped, the gentlest voice I had ever heard said, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Now there’s a question! Without a moment’s hesitation, without any second thoughts as to the absurdity of my request I blurted out, “My sight! I want my sight back!”

I heard a chuckle, the instant before I saw, yes saw his warm brown eyes searching mine. “You’re healed because of your faith.” He assured me. It was so simple, so quick, so perfect!  The one thing I had only imagined, had suddenly become reality.

Singing and shouting, dancing and laughing I joined his parade of followers. And I’ve never regretted it.

What’s your answer? When Jesus asks you, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ What do you ask for?  

When I think about Bartimaeus and his desperate plea for Jesus’ healing touch, I’m challenged to ask big. Bart didn’t ask for alms; he didn’t ask for Jesus to use his influence to set up a fund for the blind. He cut straight to the point asking for what he knew only Jesus could do. Eph. 3:18 assures me that Jesus is able to do “abundantly more than I would ever dare to ask or imagine.” Whatever I can imagine, whatever I dare to ask for, he can do abundantly more!

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