God has been trying to show me something about myself for a long time. This is going to be about part of it. I hope that this very simple and basic concept (that I can hopefully work through efficiently, without ending up in a rabbit hole) helps others, too.
Read Mark 10:32-34. In this passage, Jesus is talking about what’s going to happen to Him: mocked, spit on, scourged, and killed. Stop for a moment and ask yourself: if you were going to ask Jesus a question right after this, what would it be? I would ask one of two (or both).
(1) “I know I saw You raise Lazarus up, but if you aren’t alive to speak to Yourself like You spoke to him, how are You going to raise Yourself from the dead?”
(2) “Ok, well, after that, what do we do first: go to the Pharisees to prove that we’ve been right all along or to the Romans so You can take their place as King?”
Those are the first two things I thought of when I tried to put myself in their shoes. But let’s read what James and John actually asked him:
Mark 10:35 – And there come near unto him James and John, the sons of Zebedee, saying unto him, Teacher, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall ask of thee.
Modern version: We want you to do for us whatever we ask you to do. That seems quite odd to me, but Jesus didn’t seem to think it too weird. His response in verse 36 was,
“What would ye that I should do for you?” or, “What do you want me to do for you?”
Mark 10:37-41 – And they said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and one on thy left hand, in thy glory. (38) But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink the cup that I drink? or to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? (39) And they said unto him, We are able. And Jesus said unto them, The cup that I drink ye shall drink; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: (40) but to sit on my right hand or on my left hand is not mine to give; but it is for them for whom it hath been prepared. (41) And when the ten heard it, they began to be moved with indignation concerning James and John.
They asked for a position. They thought they had something to offer Jesus. When the other ten heard it, it seems like they got mad because they wanted the positions that James and John were asking for and Jesus decided not to give it to any of them. They ruined it for everyone. Everybody wants a position.
If our attitudes aren’t right, we equate position with power and importance. Therefore, if we’re given a position, we think that puts us ahead of people who don’t have that position. We seek position at work; if we’re the boss at work, we have power to make things happen. We seek position at home; if I can prove I’m right and she’s wrong, I’ll have position over her (at least on this issue), and power to make her do X. So, too, do we seek position at church and in His kingdom, as James and John did.
It’s not our job to simply fill positions in His kingdom. You may be given the title, but only God can give you the position, power, and authority to rightly use it. [Tweet that!]
Now, I want to show a parallel. Keep in mind the conversation between Jesus and James and John as we continue.
Mark 10:46-48 – And they come to Jericho: and as he went out from Jericho, with his disciples and a great multitude, the son of Timaeus, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the way side. (47) And when he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. (48) And many rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried out the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me.
Bartimaeus’ first call to Jesus was for mercy. James and John called to Jesus for position. James and John each came to Jesus with a “me” attitude. Bartimaeus came with a “mercy” attitude.
How often do we ask for position when what we should really be asking for is mercy?
Notice, also, that “many rebuked” Bartimaeus. Why? They didn’t rebuke James and John for asking Jesus for something. They didn’t get indignant until after the answer came. These people expected Jesus to replace the current religious and political powers that be and put His own people in power. They were okay with the question from James and John because it was in line with their plans for Jesus.
I think they didn’t like the beggar’s cries because it wasn’t in line of their plan for Jesus.
They were on a mission to get Jesus to Jerusalem so He could take power from the Romans, the Pharisees, all the rulers. The beggar was just a nuisance, a distraction making too much noise. He was a problem, and they intended to shut him up. They tried to shut up “the problem” because they wanted Jesus to keep following their plan.
I wonder, how often do we silence the problems in our lives because we have other things we think Jesus should do? We bring Jesus into our lives, not to deal with our very real, spiritual problems, but to see if He will follow the plan we have set out for Him. We want Him to make us rich, or famous, or give us that dream girl, or to do all the hard work of witnessing for us, so on and so on. So we try to silence our own problems, make them go away, so no one else sees or hears of it. We just want Jesus to follow our plans.
So did these people. Trouble was, when they tried to shut him up, he just shouted louder. Good on him!
Let’s realize that trying to shut up or hide a problem doesn’t make it go away. It typically serves to make it get louder, worse. It’s not until we address it, or let Jesus address it, that it can be changed.
Mark 10:49 – And Jesus stood still, and said, Call ye him. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good cheer: rise, he calleth thee.
They called, he came. Now, how many of us do that?
While we’re at work, school, home, or Wal-Mart, and there is someone who needs Jesus but reaching out to them isn’t in our plans. What if Jesus is knocking on your heart, telling you to call out to them and bid them to come into Him? Do you make that problem part of your plan, like these guys did? They may or may not have wanted to do it, but they followed Jesus and did it. You may not want to, and you may think they don’t deserve it, but Jesus may be asking you to reach out and bid them to come, anyway.
That wasn’t part of the plan you had for Jesus in your life. You just wanted Him to give you a good job, good health, picture-perfect family, and a peace that passes all understanding until He returns, right? Reaching out to blind beggars and problems wasn’t in the memo, you thought.
Maybe it’s time we listen to Jesus. They did.
And, boy, did he come! Verse 50 says, “casting away his garment,” he “sprang” up and went to Jesus.
When you come to Jesus there will always be a casting away. Something must be thrown off of you. They put this there for a reason. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the Bible also says we will put on righteousness (Rev. 19:7-8) and Jesus (Romans 13:14).
He identified himself by his clothes, that’s why he cast them off. He knew that Jesus was going to change everything and he wasn’t just going to be some blind beggar on the side of the road. He cast off his old identity. We must cast off who we were and be transformed into the mind of Christ. There will always be a casting off, an old way or an old thing that must pass away, a garment to cast off, when coming to Christ. You want an anointing? Something will have to be cast off. You want your calling? Something will have to be pass away. You want to walk according to His will? Your identity will have to change.
[ Tweet This: “We must cast off who we were
and be transformed into the mind of Christ.”]
Notice, James and John didn’t try to change anything about themselves. Instead, they tried to sneak a change into Jesus’ plan. The people around Jesus all tried to dictate what His plan was supposed to be by trying to rebuke the beggar, but Jesus called the beggar – and the beggar changed who HE was to come to Christ.
It’s not about what Christ can do for you, but what you need to do to meet Christ where He is when He calls for you where you are.
Mark 10:51 – And Jesus answered him, and said, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? And the blind man said unto him, Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.
He asks, What do you want me to do? The same response He gave to James and John. The beggar asks to receive sight, and Jesus gave it to him. Why? Because of his faith. He trusted Jesus. While James, John, and everyone else trusted in their own plans for Jesus, this blind beggar just trusted in Jesus. It’s time to just trust Jesus.
Jesus had an enormous destiny. He had a great, big purpose He was heading to. He was going to die for billions upon billions. He didn’t just die for all future sin, but for all past sin, also. This was such a magnanimous calling. It was, and is, the single greatest act ever committed. Jesus was on His way to perform the greatest miracle ever performed…but He stopped for this blind beggar.
Whatever your problem is, it’s not so small in the eyes of Jesus that He won’t stop His plans and change your life. [Tweet that!]
Trust in Jesus. He wants to do something for you, just like He did with James and John, and the blind beggar. It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned disciple who walks with Him each and every day or a blind beggar on the side of the road who just happens to be in the right place today. Maybe you used to be a disciple, but life kicked you in the face, and now you’re blinded & sitting on the side of the road. He is here to meet you at the point of your need. Call to Him, tell Him your need.
He is bidding you to come – run to Him.