Open Your Bible
Mark 10:46-52, Psalm 146:1-10, Isaiah 42:1-8, Romans 4:3-5
When you’re an adult, the question “What do you want for Christmas?” gets a lot harder. The things that make it on your list usually become more humanitarian, like social justice in your city, the health of your family, revival in the Church, and sure, maybe even a substantial tax return. Like an expectant child on Christmas morning, you hope against hope that your desires will come to pass. But they’re more like prayers now, and as we all know, prayers aren’t the same as a shopping list for gifts.
When you read today’s story, did you ponder your own answer to Jesus’s question? At first glance, when Jesus asks the blind beggar Bartimaeus what he wants Jesus to do for him, it might seem like a trick question (Mark 10:51). Does Jesus really want to know our wants?
Though the first part of the phrase, “What do you want,” may seem to lend itself to opening a can of self-indulgent responses, it’s the second part, “me to do for you,” where Christ’s heart really lives. He really does want to know what we want. (And let’s be honest, He already knows anyway.) But when I read the rest of His question, I see Him using it as an opportunity for building a bridge toward relationship.
Bartimaeus didn’t accost Jesus with a list of things he wanted but rather cried out, “Have mercy on me, Son of David!” (Mark 10:48). Bartimaeus wanted what so many of us take for granted: to see with his eyes (v.51). Having one of his core faculties restored was the beggar’s biggest need, and this encounter was a chance for Jesus to display His heart of generosity and kindness for one of His children.
Prayer doesn’t work like a Christmas list, nor is it just a string of idealistic hopes. We can’t manipulate God into giving us what we want. But we do have the promise that He hears us, and the intimacy that is deepened during those moments of vulnerability when we express our felt needs to the Lord are worth everything.
Like Bartimaeus, let’s ask for Christ to show mercy to us—and not just us but in all the realms that we hope for. We are already in His hands, the best possible place to be. Let’s trust that, whatever He chooses to do, God knows what is best for us and will act accordingly and in His perfect time. May we be brave enough to answer the same question posed to Bartimaeus: What do you want Jesus to do for you?