Scripture Reading — Mark 10:17-31
The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” — Mark 10:26
In reading stories about people like the man in this episode, people who don’t really understand Jesus, I’m tempted to look down on them. The man appears to have been wealthy, and he had a high opinion of how well he kept the law. But he seems to have had no idea that Jesus was simply calling him to give his whole life to God—or maybe he just didn’t want to do that. I think to myself, “I guess he just doesn’t get what it means to follow Jesus.”
And yet I often respond to Jesus in the same way that man did. Often I don’t catch what Jesus is about, or understand what he has just said, or realize what he expects of me.
But in this story, Jesus doesn’t look down on the man. Jesus looks at him and loves him, the Bible says.
I am so thankful that—even though the man had it all wrong—Jesus didn’t just dismiss him or condemn him. Instead, Jesus loved him and invited the man to follow him.
Right there is something wonderful I can learn from Jesus. When I don’t understand his teachings, or when I misunderstand the truth about Jesus and his kingdom, there is still a loving invitation from Jesus to follow him and keep learning.
Whatever else Jesus says to the man in the story, it’s in the context of Jesus’ love for a person who doesn’t fully get it. That is reassuring to me!
Thank you, Jesus, for looking at me with love even when I have it all wrong. Instead of seeing what I have done, show me what you have done for me. Amen.
“I Want to See”
Scripture Reading — Mark 10:46-52
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” — Mark 10:51
Bartimaeus had been crying out to Jesus to have mercy on him. And Jesus’ question to the man may seem a bit odd at first. Didn’t Jesus realize that Bartimaeus was blind?
Jesus certainly knew the man was blind. But Jesus’ question invited Bartimaeus to think about and tell the Lord what he really needed.
Bartimaeus had probably been asking for donations at the gate of Jericho for a long time—perhaps even years. He was in the habit of begging from everyone else for a coin or a piece of bread. But in the presence of Jesus, he could ask for his sight—and that basically meant asking for his life back.
What do you want from Jesus? All of us could use a little help or a favor. Maybe Jesus could even fix a thing or two like a broken relationship or financial debt. No doubt, he could! There are all kinds of things we could ask Jesus to help us with, but Jesus invites us to be honest enough with ourselves so as to be bold enough with him.
What we really need is God’s mercy and grace. What we really need to say is “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
So go ahead, tell Jesus what you really need—because that is the reason why he was on the road, heading toward Jerusalem.
Thank you, Jesus, for seeing what I truly need and for asking me to see it too. Give me the courage to own up to my need and to cry out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Amen.