Another Word…by Gus Keiser

March 26, 2018

Jesus stopped and ordered this man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”  “Lord, I want to see,” he replied.

                                                                                                                        Luke 18: 40-41

 Here was a man who, until Jesus showed up on the scene, probably had resigned himself to being blind for the rest of his life. But Jesus changed all that following one question to the man…”What do you want me to do for you?” That was it.  No long sermon.  No extensive Bible study with the man.  No major hoopla; just a simple question, followed by an honest answer, followed by a miraculous act.  And that was that.

I’m not quite sure why, but the events of this story remind me of another story I came across quite a few years ago, and it goes something like this…

A man took his children out to eat. Before they began to eat their meal, the man’s six-year-old son asked his dad if he could say grace.  As the group bowed their heads, the boy began to pray…”God is good.  God is great.  Thank you for the food and I would even thank you more if Mom gets us ice cream for dessert.  And Liberty and Justice for all, Amen!”

 A number of other diners sitting around them overheard the young boy’s prayers and responded with polite laughter, with the exception of one woman who was heard to remark, “That’s what’s wrong with this country. Kids don’t even know how to pray.  Asking God for ice cream!  Why, I never!” (and maybe she shouldn’t have)

 Hearing this, the man’s son burst into tears while asking his father, “Did I do something wrong? Is God mad at me?”  As the father held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job and that God was certainly not mad at him, an older man who had overheard the whole thing approached the family’s table.  He winked at the boy and said, “I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer.”  “Really?” the boy asked.  “Cross my heart.”  Then in a theatrical whisper, the man added, “Too bad she never asks God for ice cream.  Sometimes a little ice cream is good for the soul.”

 This is what the man in the above scripture understood. In response to Jesus question, he asked for what he desired.  Can’t you just picture the scene in your mind?  This blind man had been content with going about his days performing his monotonous ritual of begging day after day.  Without any hope for a miracle, he was convinced nothing in his life would change.  There weren’t any optometrists or ophthalmologist then.  There was no lasik eye surgery no cornea transplants.  Blindness and begging was his destiny…until the day Jesus passed by.  With a buzz in the air, he senses people rushing past him, filled with excitement.  Although he can’t see with his eyes, he feels the energy in the air and hears it with his ears.  He knows that Jesus is near, and in desperation and with a hope-filled heart, he cries out. “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”   Being rebuked by the crowd for his insolence only causes him to yell louder until he gets Jesus’ attention.  For certain, the crowd did its best to ignore him…but Jesus took notice and responded to his plea.

The noted biblical commentator, William Barclay wrote, “A gentle, sentimental longing never really taps the power of God; but the passionate, intense desire of the very depth of the human heart will never be disappointed.” Too often our faith is so proper and too often what others think determines our actions…even in our relationship with Jesus himself.

Today, hopefully, may we be more like that blind beggar who cried out in desperation…and whose desperate cries were answered.

Lord Jesus Christ, May the needs in our prayers be definite, and may we rejoice in your answers to those prayers. Amen.

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