The New Testament writer Matthew describes an encounter that took place between two blind men and Jesus (Matthew 20:29-34). When they heard from their neighbors that day that Jesus was passing through, they raised a ruckus. “Have mercy on us!”, they shouted repeatedly, which annoyed the crowds, but soon launched a conversation with the one they wished to see.
Jesus asked them a simple question: “What do you want me to do for you?” Their answer was immediate: “Lord, we want our sight.” They didn’t have to stop and think about it. No need to pause for reflection and prioritizing. They were well-tuned-in to what their real need was, and that’s the help they sought… and found, as Jesus healed their blindness, and they followed him with their eyes wide open.
Just before this incident, Jesus had a very similar conversation with Mrs. Zebedee, the mother of two of his followers (Matthew 20:20-28). His question was the same: “What is it that you want?” What she wanted was special rank and privilege for her boys: “to sit at your right and at your left in your kingdom”. Not a need, but a want, a desire, based more on ambition than on anything else. And in response, Jesus made no promises.
If Jesus were to ask us today, “What do you want me to do for you?”, how would we respond? Would we, like Mrs. Z, pull out our own personal wish list to superficially improve our life experience? Or like the blind men, would we immediately, without hesitation, identify our deepest, true need? We all need God’s light. We all need spiritual life. Without that, nothing else matters. Jesus is willing to meet any one of us at that point of real need, if we will only recognize it. Lord, we want to see.
This devotional by Doug Dean was published in the June 6 "Salt & Light" column of the weekly newspaper The InterTown Record.