Friday August 18 2017


Scripture: Mark 10:46-52

Key verse: (51) “And Jesus said to him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’”

Reflection: “What do you want me to do for you?” If Jesus were to pose this question to you, how would you answer? He poses this question twice in Mark 10.  Immediately preceding today’s reading, he asks it in response to James and John saying to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”  They sound like spoiled brats to me, but Jesus responds to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” They ask for power, to sit on either side of him in glory.  These “Sons of Thunder” are more accurately described by Duke Professor Stephen B. Chapman as, “The Sons of Entitlement.”   Immediately after this encounter, we meet Blind Bartimaeus, who calls out to Jesus, “Son of David, have mercy on me.”  One could argue that given his request of Jesus, Bartimaeus sees much more clearly than James and John.  “What do you want me to do for you?” asks Jesus.  He responds, “Master, let me see.”

If Jesus were to ask, “What do you want me to do for you?” how would you respond?  I can think of a thousand responses, some less selfish than others.  The first thing that comes to my mind is healing for those I love who are sick.  Or perhaps something beyond individual desires, for an end to poverty that crushes the hopes of far too many, for peace to prevail in our world, for justice to roll down like water and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.  How would you respond?

Could we imagine simply asking to see?  Management guru Peter Block writes, “It is difficult to take a cold and dispassionate look at our current predicament. Our instinct is to make the best of it and to rationalize any frustration we have … We tend to keep on doing what we are currently doing, and perhaps do more of it … The first act of courage, then, is simply to see things as they are … Facing the harsh reality has several benefits.”   Master, let me see.

What would we see if Jesus gave us sight?  Would we see ourselves, our own blindness, our own need for healing?  These can be hard things to see.  Would we see Bartimaeus? Would we see the beggars of our world crying out for mercy?   Would we see the disparities that define and divide us?  Would we see beyond the labels we place on one another that prevent us from seeing each other for who we really are?

“The first act of courage is to simply see things as they are … facing the harsh reality has several benefits.”

Prayer: Son of David, have mercy on me. Let me see.  Amen.

Author: Joe Clifford

[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].

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