As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”
He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.
Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.”
Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.
The last miracle before Jerusalem. Finally, with the healing of a blind man, Jesus completes the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah we began with back in Luke 4. We will spend a day in Jericho, visit the home of the “wee little man” Zacchaeus, and then on to the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her.
Imagine how surprised I was at this point near the end of the journey to see our daily prayer through these days come off the lips of a blind beggar.
“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Wow! You will have to believe me when I tell you this was completely unplanned. I do believe it has been orchestrated by the Holy Spirit.
The crowd couldn’t have cared less for this man. In fact, they tried to shut him down, treating him as a nuisance. He shouts louder.
“Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Jesus stops everything and orders the man be brought to him. Then and now, the Suffering One always makes a beeline to the suffering ones. Then and now, the privileged ones turn a blind eye to them. When will we learn? The kingdom of God, inaugurated by the Son of God, literally turns everything around.
Over the course of the four Gospels, we find somewhere around one hundred questions Jesus asks people. Of all of them, this one in today’s text is my favorite: When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
It has never occurred to me to ask a person in need this question. I usually assume I know what they need, do that (or not), and move on. What if the next time I encounter a person in need I stop, take the time to see them, and ask this question, “What do you want me to do for you?” The question is as alarming as it is disarming.
I think I’m going to start asking that question of others all the time, because the truth is we are all in need of everyday expressions of mercy and grace. Mercy, however, cannot be equated with what I think they need. Mercy must be defined by them. In many ways this question gives them the gift of speaking the particularity of their need. I honestly can’t remember the last time someone asked me this specific question. Can you?
Jesus is ever and always asking this question. “What do you want me to do for you?” He asks it to others through us. And he asks it of us through others. But today, he asks it directly to you.
“What do you want me to do for you?”
How do you respond? Sit with that question.
I love the pointed simplicity of the blind man’s answer. “Lord, I want to see.”
That’s a good response for us as we make the turn to Jerusalem. Lord, I want to see.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a son/daughter.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a saint.
So Jesus wants to know: What do you want him to do for you? Be specific.
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