“What Do You Want Me to Do For You?” (Mark Sermon 54)
May 28, 2023 | Andy Davis
Exaltation of Christ, Miracles
We need to learn to listen to Jesus when He asks what we want and to pray in faith as an answer.
- SERMON TRANSCRIPT -
Turn in your Bible as we continue our study in Mark's Gospel, in Mark 10:46-52. The author to the Book of Hebrews says the Bible, the Scripture is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. The Word of God is living and active. The Gospel of Mark is alive. Jesus is the word incarnate, and in this text today, I see him beckoning to us, calling to us, drawing us. He’s standing in front of us in the text saying, "What do you want me to do for you?" Calling us to a deeper, more persistent, more detailed, more comprehensive prayer life. That's what I get out of this text and that's what I'm going to see today. This is a beautiful account. This is the last account in Mark's Gospel of one of Jesus's healings.
All of the accounts in Mark's Gospel of Jesus's healings are given to us for one reason and that is to bring us, as the readers of Mark's Gospel, to a saving faith in Jesus as the Son of God. From Mark 1:1, the theme of the entire Gospel of Mark is established, the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it says at the end of John chapter 20, the purpose of all four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all have the same purpose: that based on the miracles that are written in these gospel accounts, we may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and find salvation through faith in his name. How do we obtain that salvation? How does it become ours, personally? This account of Bartimaeus gives us a beautiful picture of that, a lived out picture of how we obtain it.
Paul says in Romans 10:9, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." What does that mean to call on the name of the Lord so that we might be saved? This account gives us a beautiful picture of that. Jesus said at the beginning of the Sermon in the Mount, some of the most significant words, "Blessed are the poor in spirit," literally the spiritual beggars, "for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." You want the kingdom of heaven, you want to spend eternity in the kingdom of heaven? You have to be a spiritual beggar. What does that mean to be a spiritual beggar? This account gives us a beautiful picture of that.
Jesus told in another place, a parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector teaching us about prayer. One was a pridefully arrogant, self-righteous, individual who thought his righteousness was amply sufficient to make himself pleasing to God, and he stood and prayed about himself in that regard. But then there was the tax collector beating his breast, refusing to even look up to God but pleading with God, "Be merciful to me, a sinner." Jesus said that man went home justified. The other one didn't. This account gives us a beautiful picture of that as well. So in this beautiful passage, Jesus stands in front of a blind man who has nothing to offer and says these words, "What do you want me to do for you?”
That question represents one of the key moments there is in our relationship with Jesus the Savior. He holds in his hand every blessing you could ever want, should ever want.Every blessing on earth or in heaven is in his sovereign hands. He wants to teach us to seek those blessings from him and only from him and to ask humbly and in faith. He wants to open his hands and satisfy your desires with all of those blessings. Jesus, in the text today, stands in front of you individually, all of you, saying, "What do you want me to do for you?"
Now, many people foolishly answer, "Nothing. I don't want anything from Jesus." They're lost. That's the essence of their losses. They don't think about Jesus at all. He never crosses their mind, so they would just say, "I don't want anything from Jesus.” Now, some sinners recognize their dire circumstances and they beg Jesus for salvation, "Save me from my sins, Lord,” and they receive, having sought that blessing by faith, they receive that gift of forgiveness of sins.
But most Christians underestimate how much more Jesus could do for us, how many more blessings we should still be seeking from him, so we don't pray very much. We don't pray about many things. We just live our independent lives, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness just like everybody else, and we just do our own things. So we need Jesus to stand in the text and call out to us and say, "I'm here. What do you want me to do for you today, now? What do you want me to do for you about the problem that's pressing in on your life? You haven't asked me about it at all. You haven't prayed about it at all." Prayerlessness. "What do you want me to do for you?"
Some people answer this question in a very worldly way. "Jesus, I want to be healthy and, Jesus, I want to be wealthy. I want worldly health, worldly success. “I want my best life now," as one put it. "That's what I want. I want my best life now." So they ask, but don't receive because they ask that they might spend what they get on their carnal pleasures.
Others realize the only thing of value is pleasing the Lord so they would say something like this, "Jesus, what I want from you is that you would work in me what is pleasing to you." Yet even those people, all of us, need to learn how to expand our concept of prayer. To expand it, to pray for far more things than we do. To pray with far more persistence than we do. To pray with far more biblical knowledge than we do. To pray for the right things, the things that God wants us to pray for more than we do. To pray for others, to take on their burdens as though they were our own and pray for them. That's what this text is saying to me.
One of my favorite hymns, those of you that know me, you know how often I think about this hymn. It's very easy actually for me to get emotional about this hymn. It's well known, but I think it was many, many years of my Christian life before I really felt the weight of the truth of the lyrics in the hymn, “What a Friend we have in Jesus.” It focuses repeatedly on this, the blessing of learning to take it to the Lord in prayer, take everything to the Lord in prayer. "What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear." All our sins and griefs to bear. "What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer. O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer." In other words, you're forfeiting peace right now because you haven't prayed about something and you're carrying burdens right now that you could be giving to him, casting upon him.
The next stanza: "Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?" This phrase captures me. I've debated it with people. Is it true? I don't know if it's a hundred percent true, but I feel like it's mostly true. "We should never be discouraged. Take it to the Lord in prayer.”Are you discouraged today, dear brother, dear sister? Could it be that you haven't taken it to the Lord in prayer? Could it be the Jesus is standing in front of you in this text saying, "What do you want me to do for you?” and you haven't asked him and therefore you're discouraged? Take it to the Lord in prayer. "Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?? Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer." That's what I'm getting out of this text. That's where we're going. So let's walk through it.
"Could it be the Jesus is standing in front of you in this text saying, "What do you want me to do for you?” and you haven't asked him and therefore you're discouraged? Take it to the Lord in prayer."
I. The Context: Through Jericho to Jerusalem
Let’s begin with the context, going through Jericho onto Jerusalem.Look at verse 46, "Then they came to Jericho, and as Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus, that is the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside, begging." This is the end of Jesus's public ministry. As I've said already, the entire purpose of the Gospel of Mark and everything in it, is to bring us, the readers, the hearers of this beautiful gospel, to faith in Jesus as the Son of God, the beginning of the gospel about Jesus, the Son of God. The word “gospel” is “good news" and the good news is Jesus. He is the good news. Jesus is the gospel.
Now every aspect of the Gospel of Mark has been putting Jesus, the Son of God, on display. As with all four Gospels, the component parts are always Jesus's mighty works in Jesus's mighty words, a combination of his miracles and his incredibly wise and perfect teachings. Those two together are the evidence, all the evidence we need for saving faith in Jesus. As I mentioned, this is the last healing miracle in the Gospel of Mark. There is one more miracle yet to come, but it's not a healing miracle. It's a very unusual miracle. It's the cursing of the fig tree in which Jesus cursed the fig tree, and it instantly withers. It's a very unusual miracle and God willing we'll get to that in due time. But that's a miracle of judgment, not of mercy. It's not a miracle of healing. It's a depiction of judgment on Israel for its fruitlessness. We'll get to that in due time.
So they're in transition now. Jesus is going up to Jerusalem, it's Passover time. Thousands of Jewish pilgrims are going up to Jerusalem for the Passover feast. On Jesus's mind, intensely on his mind, is his imminent death. He's going up to Jerusalem to die and He's thinking about it constantly. He's talking about it constantly. He's reminding his disciples of it. Look back at verse 32 of the same chapter. Mark 1032-34, "They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again He took the twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. 'We are going up to Jerusalem,' He said. 'And the Son of Man will be betrayed and will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. The will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later He will rise.’”
Also, James and John, after that statement, made their request and they came in front of Jesus and He asked the same question, “'What do you want me to do for you?’ Now they had answered, ‘Let one of us sit at your right hand, the other at your left in your kingdom.’" We saw that that was as we perceive, a selfish worldly type of request, understanding the kingdom wrongly and wanting to position themselves for power and glory. Jesus has to adjust their thinking about the kingdom and service in the kingdom as we saw last time. But even then, Jesus brought their minds back to his own imminent death, “for even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” [verse 45] So that's right before the texts we're looking at today.
They're in Jericho. Jericho is a beautiful and a historic city. The Jericho of Jesus's day lay somewhat south of the ruins of the famous Jericho that was destroyed, the walls crumbling in the time of Joshua. So it was close but not the exact same location. Jericho was located 15 miles northeast of Jerusalem. Jerusalem was built on a set of mountains and was 3,300 feet higher in altitude than Jericho. So we have Jesus going up to Jerusalem. In the parable, the Good Samaritan, the individual who was mugged, who was assaulted by the highway robbers, was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho. So Jesus is going the other direction, going up. Herod the Great, and later Archelaus, had strengthened and beautified the city of Jericho, giving it an amphitheater, some villas, a public bath. It was like a little paradise with an oasis of fresh water, palm trees, rose gardens, lavish crops of figs, citrus and other fruits. andSo it's a beautiful place. Its winter climate was delightful. Josephus said that when it was snowy in Jerusalem, Jericho was warm and pleasant, thus Herod built a winter palace there. So that's Jericho. Jesus himself had gone out from that spot three years earlier to be tempted in the desert by Satan at the beginning of his ministry.
Now, as we look at the account of the healing of this blind man who we know in Mark's Gospel as Bartimaeus, we have what we call some synoptic problems. The Synoptic Gospels are Matthew, Mark, and Luke. They're called that way because they see the perspective of Jesus's life kind of the same whereas the Gospel of John reads differently. So Matthew, Mark and Luke all have this account, but they're written differently, and it's hard sometimes to harmonize how they wrote. I don't want to spend a lot of time on these issues, but I just always want to give you confidence of the perfection of Matthew, the perfection of Mark and the perfection of Luke and how those difficulties are harmonizing.I don't want to spend a lot of time on it, but Matthew, for example, mentions two blind men, not one. Matthew says that Jesus was entering Jericho while Mark says that Jesus was leaving. Luke says He was passing through, so kind of on average entering, passing through and leaving. It was at this time as Jesus was leaving Jericho that He saw Zacchaeus the tax collector in the sycamore fig tree and went back into the city to dine at his house. So some scholars surmised that Jesus was in that sense both leaving and then going back into Jericho. That's one way you could harmonize him. None of these problems are particularly difficult. Look, if Matthew says there were two blind men, there were two blind men. If Mark chooses to focus on one of them and give us his name, so be it. It doesn't mean that there weren't two, it just he's zeroing in on this one individual and I think that tends to individualize the gospel.
Every individual has to deal with Jesus personally and this man had a name probably because as, by the end of the account today, he's a follower of Jesus. He was literally, physically, following him along the road and we're going to see in the text he was wasn't just physically healed, but he was saved. So probably, Mark gives us his name because in his community that he lived in, everybody knew Bartimaeus and this is that Bartimaeus that we all know, so he gave him his name. So that's harmonizing these three accounts.
II. A Blind Beggar’s Call
Let's look at the blind beggar’s call. "They came to Jericho and as Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus, that is the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, 'Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me.' Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, 'Son of David, have mercy on me.'"
I think it's hard for us who are physically normal when it comes to sight, to realize the intense suffering of blindness, what it would be like to be blind. I think we could imagine it. Some people actually rate blindness as one of their greatest earthly fears. Polls have been done and people say of all the things that could happen to you on earth, blindness would be one of the worst they imagined. Jesus himself spoke of the significance of physical sight. Jesus said, "If the eyes are the lamp of the body, if your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness." So it is very significant to be blind.
How was this man, Bartimaeus blind? We don't know. It is possible that he was blind from birth like the blind man in John chapter 9. It doesn't say. Could be he became blind through an injury or a disease somewhere along the way in his life. Blindness was actually very common in the Middle East in Jesus's day. Many were blind through the birth process. They got a disease from their mother while they were being born. Other infants became blind through trachoma, which is a virulent form of conjunctivitis. There were a lot of problems with blindness.
Religiously, spiritually, in the Jewish community, blindness was considered a curse from God. Blind people were seen to be cursed by God for their personal sin, hence the question in John 9, "Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Did he sin in the womb? How did that work? But you can see the mentality. If you're blind, it's because of sin. You're being cursed by God for sin.Therefore, the blind man would've been viewed as a spiritual outcast under a curse from God, only a little better than a leper just because blindness wasn't contagious, so there wasn't that terror of being around a blind person, but they were considered to be effectively, spiritual lepers, outcasts. You can see the attitude of the crowd toward him. They hate him. They're very negative toward him, yelling at him. And he was begging. Obviously, because of his blindness, he couldn't work in the normal fashion. In order to survive he was reduced to begging and surrounded by a hostile community who considered his condition a just punishment from God for his sin. Generally they wouldn't give him anything but some would and he was therefore very persistent and bold. He had to be in order just to survive. He had to fight for everything. So we see this persistent urgency as a beggar, and we see it then directed toward Jesus. He's urgently crying out to Jesus.
Bartimaeus is sitting there begging. There's a huge crowd passing by, he wants to know what's going on. He asked what caused the crowd. He was told the answer was Jesus of Nazareth. That's a basic identification of Jesus. No honorific titles, nothing, just Jesus who comes from Nazareth. However, it's pretty clear that Bartimaeus had heard of this man and had heard of all of the healings that he had done, and so he was moved by faith to cry out. He had heard that there was nothing he could not do. There was no sickness he could not heal. He had almost certainly already heard of the healing of other blind people and so he had hope, he had faith and he begins to cry out. He also, beyond that, understands some theology of Jesus's claim.
Putting it all together from Matthew's account and Luke's account, and as well as this one, it's something like this: "Jesus, Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me." All of these titles flowing out of this man, Bartimaeus. Matthew tells us he called him Lord, describing exalted status to Jesus. Now, we don't necessarily think that he understood the deity of Christ at that point, but he does call him Lord.Both accounts say that he called him Son of David, meaning he was the fulfillment of the promise that God would take a son of David and put him on a throne forever [2 Samuel 7]. Many prophets come along and predict that David or the son of David will reign on a throne forever. Jeremiah 23:5-6, “'The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘When I'll raise up to David a righteous branch, a king who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days, Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he'll be called the Lord our righteousness. The Son of David, a branch from David will reign on a throne of righteousness forever.’" So this blind man, Bartimaeus, is calling him Son of David, the Messiah, the long-awaited Messiah by the Jewish people.
We know from John chapter 9 that by this time Jesus's enemies, the religious authorities, had decided that if anyone claimed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of David, they would be put out of the synagogue, basically evicted from Jewish society. Do you sense this blind man doesn't care about that at all? He's already evicted. What did he have to lose? He had no fear of them. They hated him anyway. They thought he was cursed by God already and so he has no problem crying out, "Son of David.”The Greek actually says he's crying out emphatically or repeatedly, loudly begging for mercy. And look at the crowd's heartless reaction. They disdained and despised this blind beggar. Now they try to shout him down and demand that he'd be quiet. Verse 48, "Many rebuked him and told them to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, 'Son of David, have mercy on me.'"
If you come to faith in Christ in your adult years, you have to go over obstacles that people who know you put in front of you. The crowd trying to prevent you from coming to Jesus, the crowd trying to shout you down or rebuke you. That's what this man has to face. Now he's crying out for mercy. Mercy. Mercy's a central attribute of almighty God. In this context, mercy has to do with the alleviation of suffering, alleviation of suffering. I generally tend to think of grace as having to do with the issues of sin and judgment. By God's grace we're forgiven and by his mercy our suffering is alleviated. They're very close. But here we got the alleviation of suffering. That is what mercy is. You think about Exodus chapter 2 where the Lord says He hears the cries of Israel and bondage in Egypt and He looked down and was concerned about their suffering. That is the mercy of God. He hears from heaven and He's merciful. When He moved in front of Moses when Moses said, "Show me your glory," He pronounced his name. He said, "The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God. Slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness." This is the mercy of God. He's compassion, He's merciful, and Jesus is God's mercy incarnate. He wants to alleviate our suffering. He wants to bring us into a world where there'll be no more death, mourning, crying or pain. All of these healings that display a foretaste of mercy are just a part of that work. He is bringing his people by his blood into a world where there'll be no more need for mercy, no more death, mourning, crying or pain. And that's what he's crying for. He's asking for mercy.
III. Our Savior’s Compassion and Power
Now we see our savior's compassion and power, verse 49-51, “Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him.’ So they called to the blind man, ‘Cheer up. On your feet. He's calling you.’ Or, ‘Take heart, get up. He's calling you’ Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ Jesus asked him. The blind man said, ‘Rabbi, I want to see.’"
This is an amazing moment for me. Jesus is a king. He's a passing king. He's going by and He stops for an obscure beggar who cries out to him. I mean, that doesn't happen, friends. The last time that I preached on Mark, we saw Jesus talk about the rulers of the Gentiles who lorded over them and their high officials exercise authority. You can see them going in palanquins or in great entourages surrounded by purple silk and all that. They're not going to stop for a beggar in the field. And the beggar in the field crying out to the passing king, if he gets obnoxious enough, one of the henchmen might go over and relieve him of his head. In medieval Japan, that's what the Samurai would do. If you're a peasant, you're groveling on the ground and you're not lifting your head. If you lift your head, they will take your head from your shoulders quickly and they have the right to do it.
But you see what happens here. Here's a beggar with nothing to offer, and we've got the great, the King of kings passing by. He hears him cry and He stops in humility and wants to deal with him. It's the kindness of Jesus. I think about this moment, just to highlight what I'm saying, when Saul was pursuing David out in the desert and wanted to kill him. Abner was his right-hand man, his military leader. David in 1 Samuel 26:14, called out to the army into Abner and said, "Aren't you going to answer me, Abner?" He calls across a valley or something like that. What did Abner said, "Who are you who calls to the king?" Who are you who calls to the king? What's Abner's attitude there? “We don't need to answer you. You're nothing. You have no right to call to the king.” That's Abner's attitude. It is not Jesus's attitude. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. We have a picture of that, don't we? Isn't that beautiful?
Jesus is the humble king who comes to serve his people.Mark 10:43-45, "Whoever wants to become great among you must be a servant. And whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." Not just to heal this man of his blindness, but to die for this man's sins. That's our servant king. That's who He is. He's filled with compassion. Indeed, it is compassion that moved him to heal Bartimaeus, according to Matthew's account in Matthew 20:33. He's filled with compassion for this man. He feels what we feel. Jesus calls for the beggar to come and the crowd tells him to cheer up. What's with this crowd? I'm not a big fan of the crowd here.They change. "Oh, cheer up. He wants you." Once they find out that Jesus is interested in talking to him. "Cheer up! On your feet! Be of good courage, be happy, be energetic. Good luck to you," this kind of thing. So He calls to us, but I think it's a good word for us. Just look at verse 49, "Cheer up! On your feet! He's calling you." Didn't I begin the sermon saying that that's what's happening in this text? Jesus is calling you. He's calling you from the text. So cheer up, take heart, get up on your feet and bring your problems to Jesus. That's what I get out of that, even though the crowd's messed up.
When Jesus summons you into his presence, rejoice. So energetically this man leaps up, drops the cloak behind. That reminds me of the Samaritan woman at the well who leaves her water jar there. She is not thinking about that anymore. He's not thinking about his cloak. He's going to Jesus. Perhaps someone in the crowd did him a good service of leading this blind man into the presence of Jesus.
We come to the key question, which I chose as the sermon title: "What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked him. Now, depending how you look at it, this may be one of the stranger moments in the encounter. I mean, just think about it. This is one of those times where you're like, "Really Jesus?" It's like the time that huge crowd is pressing in on him. He said, "Who touched me?" The disciples are like, "Huh, interesting question." Was there anyone in that crowd who didn't know what the blind man wanted? I mean, do you have any idea what he might want from Jesus? Any thought at all of what he might want from Jesus? Friends, Jesus is not obtuse. He's not stupid. He's not dense. He's not having no idea what's going on. He knows exactly what this man wants. Then why does he ask this question? Now, that's an important question for us, isn't it?
He wants you to articulate your need to him, speak it, tell him what you want, take it to the Lord in prayer. That's what this text is about. "What do you want me to do for you?" This is the one who had said to another man, "Everything is possible for him who believes. There's nothing I cannot do." Jesus represents God in prayer, and He knows what this blind man needs better than what the blind man knows. God, the Father, Jesus said, knows what you need before you ask him. And yet for all of that, He still wants us to ask, to put it into words and make our request known to the Lord. So the blind man gives a simple and reasonable request. Verse 51, "The blind man said, 'Rabbi, I want to see.'"
This is unlike James and John's worldly selfish carnal request. This is just a desire to see. He just wants to be like everyone else. Everyone there around can see. Perhaps at one time he had been able to see, you don't know, but he wants to be able to see the blue sky. He wants to be able to see the white wispy clouds. He wants to be able to see the sunset over the sea. See those beautiful palm trees swaying in the breeze there in Jericho. He wants to be able to see the face of his family or friends. He just wants to be able to see the world. The whole earth is full of God's glory. He wants to be able to see that, this world of light and color. He just want to be able to see.
IV. The Beggar’s Faith Saves Him
Notice he calls Jesus “Rabbi”. It's title of respect, meaning master, and he makes his request known in plain words. He has no doubt in his mind that Jesus can do it. There's no doubt. The beggar's faith saves him. Verse 52, “‘Go,’ said Jesus, ‘your faith has healed you.’ Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road." Like all of Jesus's healings, effortless, instantaneous, completely effective, totally free financially. So completely free, effortless, perfect, instantaneous, and the ability to see, it's a stunning marvel. It's one of the most complex and amazing processes of the human body. It's only recently that there have been eye surgeons who can do many of the things that are now done routinely, retinal surgery, other aspects working on the eye that's relatively new in the history of medical science.
Jesus, like we're already told in Mark 7, has done everything well. There's nothing He cannot do. He heals blind people differently, like with the blind man in John 9. He spits on the ground and makes mud and smears it on the man. The man goes away and washes, and he can see. In Mark earlier, He spit directly on the man's eyes, and then the man saw men like trees walking around. Then He touches them the second time, and he can see everything clearly. He does healings differently here. He just touches him. He does it with a touch of his hands. He just touches his eyes and they're healed. But it's interesting here, the Greek here is that Jesus said, "Your faith..." not has healed you, "but your faith has saved you." There's a Greek word for healed, He doesn't use that here. “Your faith has saved you.” It's pretty obvious. This man has been transformed, he is a new man.
Not every physical healing in the Gospel accounts results in individual salvation of the healed person. A very good example of this is in John chapter 5, the man who's by the pool. Remember that Jesus heals and He circles back, and then Jesus says, "Behold you're well again, stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." Then the man goes and turns Jesus into the temple police. It's pretty clear that guy in John 5 wasn't saved, but this man, Bartimaeus is, and he's transformed. He follows Jesus along the road. The next thing in the gospel is the triumphal entry, and I think Bartimaeus was right there, part of the entourage. His faith has saved him. Sins are forgiven by faith in no other way.
This man is the very picture of what we call a pre-cross conversion, pre-cross salvation. Just that encounter with Jesus, a physical healing, and his faith saves him. He is beyond just the physical healing. He's now a follower of Jesus. All of us, our greatest need is not physical sight, the ability to walk, any of those physical processes, all of those are going to be taken from us at death. Our greatest need is the forgiveness of sins, the forgiveness of sins, and is by the same mechanism here, our faith in Christ that saves us from our sins.
V. Timeless Lessons
What do you want Jesus to do for you? We need to start with the basic healing here. All of us apart from Christ starts out spiritually blind, spiritually dead. All of Jesus's salvation works are works of healing. Jesus said, "It's not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I've not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." Jesus has come to heal all of us of our spiritual blindness fundamentally that we don't see the glory of God and we don't see ourselves and our sins properly.
What we need is for Jesus to give us spiritual sight to see the glory of God and to see our sins. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and to repent of our sins and define in the bloody death of Jesus, our only hope is salvation. It's a sure and certain hope that through faith in Christ, our sins are forgiven. That's where it all starts here. Nothing else matters. If you don't have that, you have nothing. “What will it profit a man to gain the whole world and loses his own soul?” So start there.
"What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asks. “I want to see you. I want to see the glory of God and the face of Christ, and I want to be justified by my faith in Christ. That's what I want.” Starts there. But now, you all are Christians. You did that a long time ago. Is there anything else? Is there anything else you might want Jesus to do for you? That's how I began this sermon, and that's what I want to ask you now. What do you want Jesus to do for you?
This morning, as I was thinking about this sermon, my mind was brought to Revelation 22:1-2.There’s a picture of heaven, the eternal state, and there's a picture of the throne of God and of the lamb and the river of the water of life flowing from the throne through the center of the street of the city. The tree of life is on either side of that river that flows from that throne, and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. The tree bears crops every month. You get this picture of healing and fruitfulness and life flowing from the throne. I want you to picture that.
Every blessing there is in heaven or on earth flows from the throne of God and of the Lamb. All of them. Seek your blessings from Christ. All of them. Ask God to bless you. Something you don't have, but you need, ask him for it. Something that's in your life that shouldn't be, a sin, a wicked habit, ask him to take it away, and extend it beyond yourself to people around you. Seek blessings from God out of his hand. "What do you want me to do for you?" Get the blessings from him.
"Every blessing there is in heaven or on earth flows from the throne of God and of the Lamb. All of them. Seek your blessings from Christ. All of them. Ask God to bless you."
We have a mistaken view sometimes of prayer. Prayer works like this. You go to pray and you give God a good idea of something that He didn't have. He agrees with you that it's a good idea, and He changes course a bit because of your prayer, and now does what you tell him to do. Some of you are laughing because that's utterly ridiculous. You can't teach God anything. God already has a meticulous plan for every single moment of redemptive history. He's inviting you into what He's doing.
Let me give you a very good example of this. Jesus is our main example of prayer. I was reading this a few days ago, John 14:16, “Jesus said, ‘I will ask the Father and he will give you another counselor to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive.’" Now, think about that. Jesus goes to heaven and He says, "Father, I have an idea." He says, "Well, what is it my Son?" "Why don't we send the third person of the Trinity? Why don't we send the Holy Spirit?" And the Father says, "That's a great idea. Let's do that." Do you have any sense at all that was worked out before the foundation of the world, the Father sending the Holy Spirit on the church to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth once Jesus had finished his work? I'm telling you, it had already been worked out.
Then why does He say, "I will ask the Father and he will send the counselor"? It's because Jesus knows better than we do, everything comes from God in answer to prayer. And Jesus, our mediator goes to the throne and asks him for the blessings we need. It's the very thing we see in Psalm 2. The psalmist says, "I will proclaim the decree of the Lord." Picture Jesus saying the words of Psalm 2. "The Lord said to me, 'I am your Father. Today I've begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.'" Again, that's not some new idea. That was the whole point. Jesus, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, but He has to ask the Father for the nations.
What I want you to do is, I want you to see every blessing you could ever want in your life and in the lives of people you care about in the hands of God, and you go to him and ask for them. All of them. Little things, big things, all of them. Hebrews 4:16 says, "Let us draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." In the text today, Jesus stands before us and says, "What do you want me to do for you?" What is your answer?
Close with me in prayer. Lord, thank you for the time that we've had today in this text. We thank you for its power. We thank you for Jesus's effortless healing and actual physical healing of a blind man, years ago. We know that Jesus can still do anything. We know that our needs are greater than just physical eyesight. Lord, would you please work in us, the salvation you intended, that you would transform us little by little into the image of your Son, that you would make us holy, that you would make us pure, free from sin? And Lord, would you help us to use our prayers for the salvation of others, that we would see our coworkers and neighbors and lost relatives, people around us who are in darkness, that we would ask on their behalf, that they would believe the gospel and be saved. God give us robust, detailed, powerful prayer lives. Help us to understand what happens here when Jesus says, "What do you want me to do for you?" In Jesus' name, Amen.