Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions
By Chris WittsSaturday 21 Nov 2020Morning Devotions with Chris Witts
In Part 1, I started looking at the character of Bartimaeus from the New Testament, the blind man who was healed by Jesus. And I said that he had this idea that maybe Jesus could do something for him. And Jesus asked him that question, What do you want me to do for you?
There are many people who see and are bitter, angry and in a state of despair. Many people who see and cannot, or choose not, to see. Jesus did more than restore the sight of a blind man. He placed before that man a choice—the ultimate choice:
- who to follow
- how to see
- what to become.
We all sit on the side of the road. We all sit in some form of blindness or impairment. There is in the life of each of us, something that causes us to draw back from what God would have us become. In each of us are factors, situations, temptations that say to us stay in the dirt, stay blind. Stay where you are comfortable; stay with what is familiar; do not have courage; do not get up; do not follow.
The world, our own limitations, a variety of things can invite us to see ourselves in a limited way. That is not how God sees us. God sees us as being capable of becoming more than we are. God sees us as being capable of being noble, of being holy, of being whole.
Asking for What You’re Really Longing for
Have you ever had those moments in your life when things aren’t going great and our circumstances, when our situations are beyond what we can do to make things better, when we’re completely out of control?
There is no-one to turn to and then we hear about Jesus or remember Jesus. And as we turn to him we ask for the obvious. Jesus knows we do that but he also knows that all too often it’s not the obvious that we are really longing for. But it’s usually the obvious that has clouded our vision so much and made us blind to the true yearning of our hearts and souls. It’s much easier to ask for the obvious, to quickly assess our personal issues and then ask for mercy. But it is a lot harder to go to the core of our spirit to find what we are truly asking for. It takes courage to go there.
When Jesus asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” I don’t believe that Bartimaeus responded immediately. He realised the authority of Jesus’ question and he knew at the core of his being that Jesus would answer him. He went to his gut and examined what he wanted more than anything else and he requested it. Again notice the courage. He didn’t ask for a better place to beg from, he didn’t ask that there would be more people with compassion, he didn’t ask for money—all which would have been legitimate requests.
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In this case, the obvious is really what the blind man is longing for. Let me see, Lord, says Bartimaeus. What he asks for is nothing less than a miracle. What courage and what faith! What a beautiful confession of his heart, that says you are Jesus the Son of God and you are the only one who can grant me this miracle and I believe you will do it.
When Faith and Opportunity Meet
I love this story but I am also bothered by it, because I realise how often I quickly assume Jesus is too busy to hear my plea and I recognise how often I’m so focused on my mission that I become blind to the cries of the Bartimaeuses around me. I’m also bothered because I so often lack the courage to seek Jesus as Bartimaeus did, believe in who Jesus says he was and is, as Bartimaeus believed, and finally to cry out to Jesus in expectation as Bartimaeus did and listen to Jesus’ words as he asks me What do you want me to do for you?
There are moments in life when we’re called upon to make a decision. The mixture of faith and opportunity is present. And we have a choice to act on it or not. Bartimaeus says, Jesus is here. He had no clue that it would be the last time that Jesus would ever pass that way, because Jesus was on his way up to Jerusalem to give his life. It was the last time. So, from the depths of him, Bartimaeus cries out. It’s in urgency.
Have you ever felt like Bartimaeus—helpless, with very little hope, at wit’s end? Cry out to him and Jesus will stop, ask that you come to him and when you are near, he will ask you, What do you want me to do for you?
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