We often think of Jesus as the God-man with all the answers. However, more than any other person in the Bible, Jesus asked questions. More than 300 questions in the four gospels! Why does he ask so many questions? Sometimes he does it as a teaching tool, to help people in the process of discovering truth. Sometimes he asks questions to provoke a paradigm shift, to help people see the Kingdom of God through a different perspective. But nearly every time Jesus asks a question, he does so to engage people in a real relationship. He asks questions to his disciples, his critics, the poor, the rich, women and men, engaging them with an authentic desire to hear what people have to say. Through his questions he invites relationship. Jesus wants to know people deeply as he also invites them to know him.
In this new series we’ll be taking one of Jesus’ questions a week, understanding the story and context in which the question occurs, and looking at what it tells us about Jesus and his desire to be in relationship with us.
This week we begin with Jesus’ question, “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asks this question twice in the span of 15 verses. He first asks this question to his disciples James and John in 10:36, and they respond by asking for power and glory. He later asks this question to a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, who asks Jesus for his sight. In both cases, Jesus is inviting the individuals he addresses to get in touch with the wants and desires of their hearts and to answer honestly. In both cases Jesus responds with compassion. Yet while he grants the gift of sight to Bartimeaus, he challenges the request of James and John.
These stories reveal that Jesus invites us to get in touch with the deep and desperate desires of our hearts and to name them honestly before him. Some of these desires are noble and God-glorifying, pointing us to the Kingdom. Other desires within us are tainted and distorted by depravity and pride. But by naming our desires honestly before Jesus, we come into deeper relationship with him and allow him to sort out what in us can be affirmed and what must be challenged and changed.
In preparation for worship this week, read through these passages slowly and imagine yourself in the stories. Jesus is asking this question to all of us.
Our weekly worship guide can downloaded here.
Mark 10:35-40, 46-52
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.”
38 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”
39 “We can,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40 but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”
46 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. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.