Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Simple Question...Dignity Preserved

In the tenth chapter of the book of Mark, one of my favorite stories of all time can be found. It is the story of a blind man named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus).

Jesus is passing through Jericho His last time. He is going to Jerusalem to be crucified. He has been trying to tell His disciples along the way what is about to happen but they are pretty clueless. The disciples are going along with Him and crowds have thronged around Him all in anticipation of a coronation for the Messiah when they reach Jerusalem. But Jesus knows what faces Him is not a coronation but a cross.

As they are leaving Jericho, a blind man is sitting beside the roadway where they pass. Perhaps he has heard about the miracle worker who heals the lame and raises the dead named Jesus. And then he hears that it is Jesus and His entourage that is actually passing by. He begins to call in eager anticipation...

"Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"

The crowds, including the disciples I would think, try to quieten him. They said, "Don't bother the teacher. He's too busy for you. He's going to Jerusalem on urgent business. But the blind man, the son of Timaeus, even cried louder, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"

And then two short words that show the compassion of Christ...

"Jesus stopped.."

With everything going on. With the road to Jerusalem ahead as well as the shadow of the cross, Jesus stopped. On the eve of the greatest event in human history that would require every ounce of Jesus' resolve, he stopped and cared for a person in need.

Not only did He stop, but he did not immediately rush to a conclusion based on what was obvious. He stopped and then He asked a question...

"What would you want Me to do for you?"

Perhaps the disciples around Jesus were taken aback by the question. "Isn't it obvious what this man needs? He's been blind from birth." Yet the Savior of the world, the second part of the triune God-head, the co-author of everything, took time to stop and ask, "What would you want Me to do for you?"

Dignity. Jesus not only was stopping to help but also stopping to give dignity. With a simple question, He gives the right to the person in greatest need to state what is on their heart. Bartimaeus could have asked for anything: wealth, fame, fortune. Jesus gave him the dignity to be able to ask.

Bartimaeus simply asked, "Master Teacher, I want to receive my sight..."

In a world of great need, sometimes I rush to meet that need before stopping and really trying to understand the person or community who has that need. I can think of a million things that will solve other peoples' problems without really taking time to ask if they have a problem. Were I to be more like Jesus who stopped and saw the person and gave that person in need a chance to speak for themselves, I think I would be a better minister of the true gospel.

"What would you have me do for you?" gives the hearer the right and the dignity to share their heart. May we ask this questions continually as we go and may we have God's ears to listen to what people tell us.


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