What Do You Want Me to Do for You?

27 07 2011

It’s so glaringly obvious, surely I’ve noticed it before. I mean, it might as well be highlighted, underlined, and written in bold italics. And all caps. Sparkly ones.

At any rate, whether I’ve noticed it before or not, I noticed it today, and I have to admit I wasn’t too comfortable with the implications.

You know the passage from Mark 10. James and John come to Jesus and say, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”

Two observations right off. First, they called Him Teacher. Not Lord or King or Messiah. And then they essentially asked for a blank check. Like a little kid saying, “Daddy, promise you’ll give me whatever I want for my birthday,” before asking for a pony, a trip to Disneyland, and a life-time supply of ice cream.

And Jesus, who already knew exactly what they were going to ask, says, “What do you want Me to do for you?”

“Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”

And they fell down dead for their presumption? He rebuked them for their selfish ambition? Thunder rolled and lightning flashed and everyone trembled with fear?

No. He simply said, “You do not know what you are asking.”

Sometimes scripture tells us how Jesus felt — angry or compassionate or sad. Other times we can only speculate based on context and the reaction of those present. In this case, there’s no evidence that He yelled or His eyes flashed angry or He bowed His head in deep sorrow. In my imagination I hear His voice quiet. Tender. However He spoke, clearly they weren’t afraid. When He asked if they were able to share His cup or baptism, they didn’t hesitate to say, “We are able.”

I wonder what they thought He meant. The cup of luxury? The baptism of power?

And here’s a marvel. Jesus doesn’t set them straight. He simply says, yes, you will share My cup and My baptism, but I can’t grant you the honor you seek. “It is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

What a mysterious and intriguing statement! No doubt His disciples gathered closer, longing to understand this prearranged kingdom order! But no. They were too busy being indignant at James and John, and again, we can only guess their motives. Offense for Jesus’ sake? I doubt it. More likely offense for themselves. Because Jesus calls them near and explains (again) the upside down kingdom. “But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

And now we get to the glaringly obvious part. How have I missed this?

Jesus and His ambitious friends move on, and when they leave Jericho accompanied by a crowd, they pass a blind beggar named Bartimaeus. He hears that Jesus is passing by and cries out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Not Teacher, but Son of David! Messiah! Coming King!

The crowd hushes him, but he cries out all the more, and Jesus says, “Come.”

And then He asks again. The exact same words. He who already knows all things. Does He ask because we need to know?

“What do you want Me to do for you?”

“Rabbi, let me recover my sight.”

I want to see, he says. Please. Let me see.

And Jesus says, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.”

And the blind man recovers his sight, and he goes his way. But which way might that be?

The scripture says he followed Him.

And then it hits me. The disciples were the blind ones. “We are able to drink the cup,” they said, expecting a gilded throne, not the agony of the cross. They wanted perks, rewards, recognition. They sought their own glory, not His.

And the Voice of my Beloved whispers soft (no thunder, no lightning), and I hear the same question asked of me.

What do you want Me to do for you?

Do you want to be followed, or to follow?

Do you want to be seen, or to see?

And I can’t hide the answer, because He already knows. My heart bows low in repentance.

Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me. Create in me a clean heart, that I might answer truly:

I want to follow You.

I want to see.

* * *

Joining with community to consider the spiritual practices of humility and love.



14 responses

27 07 2011
Patricia (Pollywog Creek)

Amen and amen, Jeanne!!!! Love those insights. I’m thinking it wouldn’t be a bad idea for *me* to write down what it is I want from Jesus and gain some clarity. Thank you for this,

Much love,

27 07 2011
Anne Mateer

Wow. I’d never seen that before, either. Powerful. And convicting. I’ll definitely chew on this for a while.

27 07 2011

Beautiful and humbling. Thank you for sharing what you saw.

27 07 2011
Deborah Carr

You have framed this all so beautifully, Jeanne. Coincidentally I sat with this question earlier this year…I imagined hearing Jesus’ voice …”What do you want me to do for you? What do you REALLY want?” I couldn’t tell him. I have so much. But when it finally came down to it, I have to admit that when I reached the bottom of my heart, it was about me. Not him.

So thank you for this. For your gentle approach to humility. For helping me see.

27 07 2011
Lisa notes...

I also want to follow; I want to see. Thank you for sharing this.

27 07 2011
Rambling Heather

Yes! To follow and see. This is such a beautiful raw post, thank you for sharing it!

27 07 2011
Denise J. Hughes

“Do you want to be followed, or to follow?”

“Do you want to be seen, or to see?”

These are penetrating questions. They probe deep into the heart, excising ugly truth. Your words give me much to ponder. Thank you.

I believe this is my first time visiting here. It’s nice to “meet” you.

27 07 2011

I have never seen it before either Jeanne. I must bow my head with you and confess my failure to seek Him with my whole heart – Him alone. Oh this struggle with the approval of others – the recognition that I’m doing well.
Thank you for this. The Spirit moves through the words.

27 07 2011

I am awed that the blind man and the disciples both ASKED – it took me a long time to realize that I could ask, too. I love how you make the connection that the blind man “saw” who he was – and the disiciples didn’t quite “get” who he was yet – but what captured my mind was how the blind man’s used his Heart’s Desire to follow Him – whereas the disciple’s heart’s desire was all about importance. I, too, want to follow him and believe as readily as the blind man!

27 07 2011
Daniel Farrow

All I can say Jeanne, is WOW!!! Considering what God has been speaking to me in the moments leading up to reading this post, I can only say that the Lord’s timing is amazing. It is way to easy for me to see the work of God in my life and say “I’ve got it made”. Sister you have nailed it yet again with such boldness and accuracy. Truly Holy Spirit has moved through your words today. All glory belongs to the Lord and may He bless you for your obedience to Holy Spirit. Thanks again.

28 07 2011

Follow Me. Easy to say, sometimes difficult to do because our flesh continues to just get in the way. Excellent post!

28 07 2011
David Edmisten

Amen! A friend in my Bible study recently pointed us to all the verses where Jesus explains the cost of being a disciple – not looking back, not loving family or fame or riches or comfort more than him, that suffering is guaranteed. It’s sobering. Knowing the glory that lies ahead and living in faith is the only way I can see to accept the implications of what lies before us.

28 07 2011
Connie@raise your eyes

“And I can’t hide the answer, because He already knows.”…through tears, I am slain by my own sin…then lifted by His Love and Grace. Determined to fix my eyes on Him…thank you for these words Jeanne.

31 07 2011
michelle derusha

I absolutely love what you have discovered here, Jeanne. And thank you, thank you for blessing us with your revelation so that we, too, may truly see!

Your comments are a gift. Please know I read each one with gratitude.

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