In Luke 18:35-41, a man cries out, “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!” He knows of Jesus, he has faith- but, he doesn’t know what’s going to happen. Who knows if Jesus hears him, who knows if Jesus would even pay attention to someone like him – but you have to make the ask don’t you? I mean, what harm does it do, the guy is just sitting begging on the side of the road, what difference will it make? Jesus can say no and it won’t change anything for the blind beggar. There’s just no harm in asking. But apparently the others in the crowd think there is harm in asking. They are not happy at the beggar bothering Jesus with a request for mercy.
Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” -Luke 18:35-41
Why do we do that? Why do we get upset at other people for making their requests of Jesus? We have in our mind the kinds of people Jesus will help, or wants to help and it bothers us when we see those we feel might be less deserving of Jesus time and attention asking for it. Or have you ever thought to yourself, “They are just asking Jesus for mercy or help because they need it…when they don’t have that need they aren’t looking to Jesus or seeking to follow him.” And we get into actually judging people’s walk with God and their motives for asking for help. Whatever it is, the crowds that are following Jesus don’t think that Jesus needs to be bothered by this blind beggar or they don’t feel like the blind beggar is worthy of calling out to Jesus and so they rebuke him and tell him to be quiet. The beggar doesn’t care though – he just yells all the louder, “Have mercy on me!!” What does he have to lose – nothing. You know what’s really interesting about this scene? The blind man seems to be able to really see Jesus and who he is, better than any of the others who are telling him to be quiet.
And Jesus…Jesus hears him and stops. He has the blind beggar brought to him and then Jesus asks the man an incredible life changing question; “What do you want me to do for you?” What a question. It might seem like a silly question, we might think, what doesn’t he want you to do for him? I mean, he’d probably love some money, he’d probably love something to eat, maybe a place to stay for the night out of the elements or just not to be ignored. He could have asked for any of these things, but instead he goes all out and makes the big ask;
Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?”
“Lord, I want to see,” he replied. -Luke 18:41
“I want to see.” Make him say no – make the ask, what does he have to lose? Nothing. And you know what, Jesus receives that request.
Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.”43 Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God. -Luke 18:42-43
Oddly enough, for many of us in our world today, this answer of Jesus makes us more uncomfortable. We would love for Jesus to put his hands on the man and say, “Be healed.” That we understand, that we can get behind. But when Jesus says, “Your faith has healed you” it makes us uncomfortable because we get into this tough discussion about the relationship between faith and healing. “If I pray for healing and I’m not healed does that mean I didn’t have faith or enough faith.” “Why did they get healed and I didn’t – is their faith stronger or better?” It’s hard and it’s uncomfortable, but when we hear Jesus ask the question, “What do you want me to do for you?” Many of us HEAR the question, “How much faith do you have?”
For everything we know and understand about Jesus, who he is, what he has done, sometimes we still have more questions about Jesus than we have answers. But when it comes to faith we shouldn’t think of it in static thing that you either have or you don’t. I like to think of faith as belief in God at some level that is seeking to know and trust God at a deeper level. Faith is something that grows as we push past our fears and learn to lean on and trust in Jesus more.
Let’s make the ask, make him say no, what do we have to lose? If we learn anything from the blind beggar and the incredible life changing question Jesus asks him, it’s to be bold in making our requests to Jesus. Jesus knows what he is doing when he asks us what we want him to do for us, so let’s be bold and ask Jesus for what we need – let’s let our faith grow to a depth where regardless of what comes of our specific ask, we know that Jesus hears us, we know that Jesus is with us, and we know that Jesus WILL take care of us.
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