“WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO FOR YOU?” (Mark 10:35-52)
September 30, 2018 10:30 AM
Rev. Jeremy B. Stopford, Pastor
TODAY’S “SPECIAL”: “The Long-Winded Visiting Preacher”
A visiting minister was very long-winded. Worse, every time he would make a good point during his sermon and a member of the congregation responded with “Amen” or “That’s right, preacher” he would get wound up even more and launch into another lengthy discourse.
Finally, the host pastor started responding to every few sentences with “Amen, Pharaoh!” The guest minister wasn’t sure what that meant, but after several more “Amen, Pharaoh!’s” he finally concluded his very lengthy sermon.
After the service concluded and the congregation had left, the visiting minister turned to his host and asked, “What exactly did you mean when you said “Amen, Pharaoh?”
His host replied, “I was telling you to let my people go!”
Since Mark 9, we have been in the section where our Savior is really focused on going to Jerusalem and the cross. He knows what lies ahead. And it seems that no matter how much He tells His disciples, they don’t understand what lies ahead.
Twice in this chapter, He asks “What do you want Me to do for you?”. The phrase appears only 5 times in all of the Scriptures, and 4/5 refer to the same incidents we have in this chapter.
What will amazingly govern our understanding of this question is the people to whom it is directed! Let’s ask Him for His blessing on today’s lesson. PRAYER
# 1 THE DISCIPLES ARE BLIND (vs. 35-45)
James and John (v. 35) – we first met them in Mark 3:17. They were to be 2 of His first apostles from all the disciples. Yet even then He called them “Boanerges”, i.e., “sons of thunder”. He knew their personalities were, well, thunderous! Highly unstable, perhaps! And they are the center of attention here.
How do we get from v. 35 to v. 45? “We want you to do…” to “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve…”? They were asking Jesus what? In essence, “here is what we want You to do. We’ve got the plan. Listen to our plan. It’s a good one. You might get some instruction from our plan.”
So…in what tone of voice did Jesus respond to them? “What do you want Me to do for you?”. You’ve heard that question before many times. Usually it is in this form: “what do you WANT????”. In other words, when someone asks us that question, it is usually because we have become an interruption to their lives, to the plans of their day. Note that nothing is an interruption to Jesus’ life, to His day. Interruptions ARE His life, His day. Are they ours? Are interruptions true ministry, or are they interruptions?
What DID they want? To sit on either side of His throne in His glory. Wow. They were thinking, rightly so, “kingdom of God.” Jesus had said much about His kingdom. And now they wanted a place in it. That was a good desire, but…
What was missing was that this kingdom, HIS kingdom, is based upon one principle and one principle only, submission to the King of kings and Lord of lords, Who was standing right before them! And that His kingdom isn’t necessarily FUTURE, although it is. It is also PRESENT! Jesus said, “the kingdom of God is among you.” When we have a submission to the Lord Jesus as King of our lives, His kingdom – and He – are ever present in all we do!
V. 38 is a challenging verse, for it introduces us to what might be a foreign phrase to most of us: “be baptized with the baptism”. Jesus was asking if they were willing to be baptized by water? No, that would be too simple. This baptism was a surrender to death, a dying to self’s motives, self’s desires, to self – and a surrender to life in Christ and to His glory…alone.
V. 39 is an interesting verse. They said, “we can.” Jesus said, “you will.” What was happening here? You and I cannot know the future, neither did James and John.
What did “we can” mean for them? Let’s look and see: what was James’ “I can” to involve? Look at Acts 12:1-3. On a whim, Herod was to have him killed with a sword. There is no questioning which James this is, as he is identified as John’s brother. Well, what about John? Let’s check out Revelation 1:9. John suffered a different kind of martyrdom: a banishment to an island with NO ONE THERE. Or so thought his enemies. They didn’t know Jesus was there. The risen Christ. Wow. And so we have Revelation.
Needless to say, the other 10 weren’t happy with the seeming privilege that James and John desired. And into that picture comes Mark 10:45: “to serve, to give His life as a ransom for many.” The Lord Jesus showed what true servanthood is. He showed what true surrender to the Kingship of the Lord is. Both in life and in the cross, He was a servant.
The disciples are blind. What they wanted was their own kingdom. What Jesus wanted was surrender to His kingdom.
Are we willing to have that surrender?
# 2 THE BLIND MAN CAN SEE (vs. 46-52)
Amazingly, in Mark the incident with this blind man, Bart, son of Tim, is given. This name distinguishes him from all the other blind men who are healed in Scripture.
* What does his tale teach us?
A. He knew his theology (v. 47). He knew the Savior’s name, “Jesus” – “Savior, Joshua”, “God in the flesh”. He knew His heritage – “Son of David” – even though He by earthly measure is hundreds of years younger than David. And he knew what only Jesus could give, “mercy” – a kindness which the blind man could not earn nor purchase, that only the Lord Jesus could give, pointing to His cross.
B. Look ahead to v. 51. To blind Bart the Savior asks a now familiar question, “what do you want Me to do for you?”. IN WHAT TONE DO YOU THINK HE ASKS THIS? THE SAME AS TO JAMES OR JOHN – with a little disdain in His voice? OR IN LOVE? I would guess in love, because blind Bart came to Jesus as a surrender to His kingship, His Lordship, His service. He had no where else to go but to the mercy seat of the Lord Jesus.
C. Bart knew what he needed: “I want to see”. He didn’t want a seat on either side of Jesus’ throne! He wanted sight.
D. But we know from what Jesus replied in v. 52 that blind Bart was asking for more than just physical sight. Jesus said, “your faith has healed you.” Where did Blind Bart exhibit his faith? In his surrender to Jesus – something that James and John didn’t understand now, but would.
E. And what did the now Sightful Bart do with his newfound sight? Go shout it to the world? Go set up in a tent and make money off of people who knew what he was like before: “come see the Blind Bart made sighted!”
No, Sighted Bart followed Jesus along the road. Don’t you wish you could follow Jesus along the road? Sighted Bart did – and so can we through His Word.
The blind man can see.
CONCLUSION What makes the difference?
The disciples – in particular James and John – were blind to the kingdom, and in particular to the King. The nature of this kingdom was that it is built on surrender and servanthood. And its Chief Servant was right before them – for the better part of 3 years – and they just didn’t get it. Then. But one day they would. Aren’t you glad God doesn’t give up on you and me? He didn’t give up on James and John, nor on the other 10.
Blind Bart could see! He could see because, by faith, he trusted that true faith was found in the Servant of servants Who, too, was standing right before him. Bart didn’t know Jesus for 3 years. He knew Him for but a moment. And in that moment, the blind could see.
How about you? What are you today? The blind disciples who should have been surrendered to the kingship of Christ in their daily lives. Or Blind Bart, who was not only surrendered to His servanthood. He followed Jesus, for all we know, for the rest of his life.
How about you?
Close in prayer