29 As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 There were two blind men sitting by the road. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 31 The crowd demanded that they keep quiet, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David! ” 32 Jesus stopped, called them, and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” 33 “Lord,” they said to him, “open our eyes.” 34 Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they could see, and they followed him. — Matthew 20:29-34
What Do You Want Me To Do For You?
by Karla Worley
Three Gospels tell this story (see also Mark 10:46-52 and Luke 18:35-43). Mark and Luke mention only one blind man. Mark gives him a name: Bartimaeus. All three Gospel writers agree on other key details in this story—things they want us to know about Jesus so that we will believe and ask.
Blind men waiting by the road in hope of receiving help. Most likely they were beggars who sat there every day calling out to the crowds. Rarely did anyone stop for them. Certainly all anyone could do was give them some spare change. Until Jesus passed by.
The Gospel stories agree on what the blind men called Jesus: Son of David. A title of authority. A title of power. “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on us!” Another way of saying this is, “Jesus, You have power! Help us!” The blind men revealed their faith in Jesus by what they called Him. Jesus could do something for them because of who He was. And, He was willing.
“What do you want me to do for you?”
Jesus had just asked this question of two very different people: James and John, fishermen brothers who had left their nets to follow Him (Matthew 20:20-28). What did they want? Glory. Position. Power. He didn’t grant their request. Why not? It wasn’t His to give (vs. 23), and it’s not what He came for (vs. 28).
How many times have I told Jesus what I want and heard Him reply, “That’s not what I came for”?
“Karla, I think it would be great if your armchair matched your sofa, but that’s not what I came for.”
“But Jesus, I would have Bible studies at my house if it looked nicer.”
“You could be doing that now.”
This is sometimes how my prayer life goes. Can you relate? Have you ever asked Jesus for what you wanted and wondered why He doesn’t answer you—or why He answers “yes” to some requests and “no” to others? This is a question we’ll never fully understand in this life. But there is something we can understand:
“Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for.” (1 John 5:14-15)
Key phrase: according to His will. What He came for.
Jesus didn’t come to give out glory or power. He didn’t come to give out nicer stuff. He didn’t come to make life easier. We wish He did, and so did many of His followers at the time. He did come to bring the good news of salvation to the poor, freedom to captives, recovery of sight to the blind, freedom from oppression, to bring God’s favor, to comfort those who mourn (Luke 4:16-21, Isaiah 61:1-3). He did come to give His life to pay the price for our sin (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45).
These are things He is able to give. And willing to give! That’s amazing!
What do you want Him to do for you today?
- Spend some time in prayer today affirming who you believe Jesus is. Make a list of the titles that describe this: creator, sustainer, master, teacher, savior, Lord. Who do you know Jesus to be? Focus on that. How do you know it? Because you’ve heard it, read it, experienced it?
- How does this change the things you want to ask Him for? List the things you would say if He asked you, “What do you want me to do for you?” Why do you believe He could answer these requests?
- How much do you understand about what Jesus came for? What do you know that is on His agenda? Make a list of these things. Examine your list of requests. Ask God to show you how He would adjust your list to fit His agenda, not your agenda.
- Ask Him about these things, knowing that He hears you and wants to give you good things. Thank Him for this, and for the privilege of access to Him.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.