Series 56


by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Reference: Luke 18:41)

In Luke 18:35-43 we read of one of Jesus’ gracious acts of mercy, the key words being in verse 41. How personal this question is! – “Me…you?” and how practical it is! Jesus wanted to know what Bartimaeus wanted Him to “do” for him. It is also a powerful question, when we remember the One who asked it. Notice the importance of the pronoun “Me”. This incident shows how very wonderful Jesus is: here was a blind man, sitting and begging beside the road, and on hearing Jesus was to pass by cried out and asked for help. But he was rebuked for causing such a disturbance, and it was when he overcame this barrier and had been brought to Jesus that the question was asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” There was only one thing the man wanted – his sight – and when the Lord graciously restored it Bartimaeus followed Jesus and praised God. Perhaps we are less impressed with this incident because it happened 2000 years ago, but surely the value of these words depends upon the fact that Christ is alive today and that He is just the same today; compare Hebrews 7:25 with 13:8. Jesus is alive, and He still comes to us and asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” If we analyse this question and the offer of our Lord, notice that it contains three propositions:-

1. There are certain things we need to have done for us that we are incapable of doing for ourselves.

Think of Bartimaeus as an example: he was blind and there was absolutely nothing he could do about it. He had this one need and he could do nothing to meet it. The same is true of us because we are in the same predicament. There are some things that we can do – educate ourselves, act like good citizens, set out to be successful; but we have deep spiritual needs and we can do nothing to meet them. In fact the answer is not in ourselves at all. For example, we need to have our sins forgiven; we need to be cleansed from the pollution of sin; we need to be brought into a condition of peace with God and to experience the peace of God which passes all understanding; we need day-by-day victory over sin; every day of our lives we need guidance; we need comfort and we need assurance about God’s love and about our future and our eternal destiny. Can we do any of these things for ourselves? The answer is – no! We cannot do this any more than Bartimaeus could open his blind eyes.

2. The Lord Jesus Christ is well able and perfectly willing to do these things for us, to meet these great needs that we are quite incapable of meeting.

In other words, what we cannot do for ourselves, and what no man is able to do for us, the Lord is able to do; but more than this, He is willing to do it. Indeed, as we read through the gospels we are impressed not only with Jesus’ ability to help those with needs, but with the fact that He longs to give it. This is strikingly illustrated here where Jesus was willing to open the eyes of Bartimaeus. This is where the Lord Jesus Christ is unique: no-one else can stand before us and say, “What do you want me to do for you?” – and to be able and willing to meet that need. For example, who else can forgive sin, as Jesus can? He is the One whom we have offended by our sin, and on that ground alone He must be the One to forgive us. Who can give us peace, restore peace with God and give peace in our hearts? Who can lead us into a life of victory over sin, but Jesus? Who can guide us, give us comfort or assurance concerning this life and the life to come, as Jesus can? He is not only able, but willing and longing to do this.

3. Whether or not our need is met depends upon one thing: our willingness to receive what the Lord offers to us.

We have to receive what He gives, and we have to receive it by faith. Now Bartimaeus had to do this – read through verses 41-43 again and see this graphically and clearly illustrated, and apply the question in verse 41 to yourself – What do you need? If you will mention your need to Him you may receive from Him what He offers, and you may do this by faith. For example:-

  1. 1. Do you need forgiveness? Then ask Him for forgiveness, and He will say to you, “Your sins are forgiven” (Matthew 9:2).
  2. 2. Do you need cleansing? Then ask Him for cleansing, and He will say to you, “I am willing…Be clean!” (Mark 1:41).
  3. 3. Do you need peace? Then ask Him for peace, and He will say to you, “My peace I give you” (John 14:27).
  4. 4. Do you need victory? Then ask Him for victory, and He will say to you, “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:11).
  5. 5. Do you need guidance? Then ask Him for guidance, and He promises to be our guide even to the end (Psalm 32:8).
  6. 6. Do you need comfort? Then ask Him for comfort, and He will say to you, “It is I. Don’t be afraid” (Matthew 14:27).
  7. 7. Do you need assurance? Then ask Him for assurance, and He will say to you, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you” (Isaiah 43:1).

The Lord Jesus waits to meet your need now with His great sufficiency, but you must come to Him and tell Him of your need and receive what He offers. Every blessing is resident in Him – look up Ephesians 1:3 – and all that you need is fully met in Him. As He says to you now, “What do you want me to do for you?” Will you give Him the answer to that question, and will you receive what He offers you? If so, you will find yourself praising God (verse 43); and other people, when they see what has happened to you, will praise God also.