Luke 18:35-43 (CEV)
35 When Jesus was coming close to Jericho, a blind man sat begging beside the road. 36 The man heard the crowd walking by and asked what was happening. 37 Some people told him that Jesus from Nazareth was passing by. 38 So the blind man shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” 39 The people who were going along with Jesus told the man to be quiet. But he shouted even louder, “Son of David, have pity on me!”
40 Jesus stopped and told some people to bring the blind man over to him. When the blind man was getting near, Jesus asked, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?”
“Lord, I want to see!” he answered.
42 Jesus replied, “Look and you will see! Your eyes are healed because of your faith.” 43 Right away the man could see, and he went with Jesus and started thanking God. When the crowds saw what happened, they praised God.
What Do You Want?
Have you ever been completely at someone else’s mercy?
Entirely dependent on whether the other person says ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to your request?
As a disabled individual I’ve spent an awful lot of time dependent on other people, so I know that you become very aware of the fact that your well-being will rise or fall completely on the goodwill of the people around you.
This is bad enough if you’re sick for a short period of time – you break your leg, or you get the flu really badly, or you have surgery – but it becomes even more pronounced when you live with a life-long disability, like blindness or paralysis.
And for me, at least, this means that I find it very hard to genuinely answer people when they ask ‘what do you want?’
I tend to size the situation up and try to figure out how much that person can reasonably offer.
I tend to think about the things that person likes to do, and adjust my answer to be something that I think they might enjoy.
I tend to try to work out whether they are asking because they genuinely want to help, or because they simply feel like that’s what’s expected of them when they meet someone with a disability.
I even think about how the other people around me will perceive my answer, and whether it will lose me other support and aid down the road if the person says no.
Because here’s the thing – they might say no.
It’s vulnerable to put yourself out there.
Especially when you have little to nothing to fall back on.
I have been learning at Vox the past few years that it’s safe to answer people honestly, but this is a new experience for me.
And I don’t know whether it was an experience that this blind man on the road to Jericho had had or not, but I can guarantee that he had spent an awful lot of his life dependent on others, and had worked out that you can only ask for so much before the ‘goodwill train’ left the station!
So it takes courage and faith for this man to call out to Jesus from the side of the road.
A fancy, important preacher and healer – why would he even notice this man?
But I guess by this point in Jesus’ time of ministry news had travelled enough that the man had heard that sometimes Jesus did stop and did take notice.
And not only take notice, but offer hope and healing.
So at the risk of alienating all of his local supporters – at the risk of Jesus telling him off for being insolent – at the risk of living the rest of his life as an outcast – the man answers truthfully when Jesus asks him what he wants.
“I want to see.”
How many days has he spent wondering what it would be like to see?
How many months has he spent wishing he could see his loved ones?
How many years has he spent trying to make sense of the descriptions people have given of trees or flowers or mountains or sunsets?
He’s hoped against hope for this chance to see perhaps for his whole life.
And now’s his chance.
He takes the risk … and Jesus says ‘yes’.
- What do you want?
- What do you struggle to ask Jesus for?
- What makes it feel risky to ask for things from Jesus?
- What would it look like to be prepared to respond with courage and faith when Jesus next asks you, ‘what do you want’?