“What do you want me to do for you?” On what was to be His final trip to Jerusalem, Jesus asked this question twice. The circumstances that prompted this question, and the responses that Jesus received each time He asked it, teach us a lot about how we should present our needs and desires to God.
The first time that Jesus asked this question was in response to a request made by two of His disciples, James and John, the sons of Zebedee. As Jesus was walking, these two men approached Him to ask a favor. But, note how they “asked” for this favor. Not, “would you be willing to do whatever we ask?” Not, “Jesus, there’s something we were hoping you could do for us.” What James and John said came out more like a demand, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask.” Their request was based on their will, not the will of Jesus.
When Jesus asked them what they wanted Him to do for them, their response was that, when Jesus took His rightful place on His throne, one of them would be seated at His left and the other at His right. They knew that Jesus was the Messiah and they were looking to be placed in places of honor when He came into His glory. Jesus responded by telling them that this was not something that He could grant and it was not something that they themselves could earn. (Mark 10:35-40).
The second time that Jesus asked the question was in response to the cries of a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus. As Jesus came into Jericho, Bartimaeus was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus who was approaching, Bartimaeus cried out, “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!” Like James and John, Bartimaeus knew that Jesus was the Messiah, but his request was not a demand, but a cry for compassion. His request for mercy was not based on his own will, but the will of Jesus.
Although many in the crowd rebuked Bartimaeus, he continued to cry out. Jesus stopped and commanded that the blind beggar be brought to Him. Jesus then asked what Bartimaeus wanted Him to do for him. Bartimaeus asked that Jesus let him recover his sight. He was not looking for a place of honor, he was not looking for glory. All he wanted was to be able to see. Jesus responded by telling Bartimaeus that, because of his faith, His sight would be restored. (Mark 10:46-52).
When we have needs, when we have desires, we should present them to Jesus but, when we do, it should be in humility. Our requests should never be demands and we should always seek that His will be done in our lives and not our own will. Jesus wants to know what He can do for us. When we bring our requests to Jesus, He will grant them when we are seeking His will.
When Bartimaeus received his sight, the first thing he did was to follow Jesus and give glory to God. And, when the people around him saw this, they too gave praise to God (Luke 18:42-43). When we receive an answer to our needs and our requests, it is important that we acknowledge the source of our answer by giving God the glory. And it is important that we testify about what God has done so that they also can see His faithfulness and give Him glory as well.