God, YOU go first
This week, Mark Sandquist looks at two stories in Luke 10.
Three men, one question, two answers.
What is the most memorable question anyone has ever asked you?
If you could only ask one question of everyone you met from now on in order to gain insight about them, what would it be?
Jesus, the master story teller, the master speaker, the master teacher, and the master disciple maker – was also the master question asker.
People puzzled over his questions. People sometimes hated his questions. But always, one way or another, people were forced to consider the answers to his questions. And those answers almost always had eternal consequences. People were changed by his questions.
God invites the world to himself through Jesus and the carefully crafted questions he asks and represents. God poses the question of Jesus for Jesus is in the questions and in the answers.
So let’s take a look at one of Jesus’ questions. One question that he poses to three men and gets two answers.
“‘What do you want me to do for you?’, he asked. They replied ‘Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.'” (Mark 10:36-37)
Wow What must Jesus have thought when he heard those words come out of their mouths?
And although they were wise and/or kind enough to include Jesus in their super hero power triad, and even place him at the center, their answer revealed their true heart – They wanted to be elevated above the others. They wanted to have power. They wanted to “help” Jesus rule and wield control. They were willing to let Jesus have the center spot, but they wanted their own chairs as close to His throne as possible. And they were seemingly ready to jump on the throne whenever Jesus needed help, or was getting tired, or after he made a few mistakes.
Yes Lord, I am good with you sitting on the throne of my life, except for the times I am not. You are OK with that, right God? I can slide back on the throne seat every once in a while, right?
Jesus is saying “You seem to think I am int he business of handing out wonderful things that will please you and make your life here easy. No, let me tell you what this Kingdom is all about. It is just the opposite of what you appear to be seeking, it is about servanthood.
I need servants who are completely and utterly dependent on God for each and every step they take – each and every day. I need servants who, minute by minute, live out God, you go first! That’s how greatness among Jesus’ followers is measured by their ability to live as servants and slaves.
For even Jesus needed to surrender the throne of his live to his Father when he declares “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done. Not mine.”
Well, if the disciples got it wrong, who got it right? To get to that answer, Mark records another event which just “happens” to occur right after the last one.
In the very next verses recorded in Mark, we meet a blind man, begging by the roadside – Bartimaeus. And he is about to meet Jesus. He will be chosen as one of the special people to whom Jesus will ask a direct question. Unlike James and John there is nothing hidden with Bartimaeus. His internal and external have joined together. He is broken inside and out. His external need is clear for everyone to see. But it also mirrors his deep internal need.
I want to see:
In verse 51, as Bartimaeus stands before the Master Question asker, Jesus asks him a question he will never forget – and it happens to be the EXACT SAME question he had just asked James and John.
“The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see”” – Mark 10:51
Perhaps his answer can be misinterpreted as being selfish, just like the disciples, but upon a closer review we see his response as a simple, succinct direct, unpretentious, heartfelt plea. His obvious physical need was clearly evident, but there is also a deep heart felt cry for a healing of his spiritual blindness.
Faith has healed you:
There are no follow up questions for Jesus this time. He did not need to probe deeper. He know what he was really asking for. He saw his heart and in verse 52 he simply says “Go, your faith has healed you.”
And then Bartimaeus did what all true believer of Jesus do. He immediately followed Jesus along the road.
“What do you want me to do for you?” The same Jesus is asking each of us this question today.