Saying, What will you that I shall do to you? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.
Our hearts are drawn towards blind Bartimaeus; we compassionate him for his long-continued blindness; we enter into his feeling of keen hopefulness when he hears of the passing of Jesus Christ; we like the importunity of the man, his sturdy refusal to be put down by popular clamour; we like also his manly directness in reply to the question asked him, "Lord, that I may receive my sight!" We owe him some gratitude in that it was his necessity which provided our Lord with one more opportunity of illustrating his power and his pity, and of carrying on the great redemptive work he came to accomplish. For these miracles he wrought were a part, and a valuable part, of that work of his. If apprised of less value than they once were, they are very far indeed from being valueless. And amongst other things they illustrate Christ's personal dealing with men. As he did not heal in troops and companies but addressed himself to each individual man or woman that was sick or suffering, blind or lame, so does he now make his appeal to each individual heart, and say to this man and to that man, "What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?" And what do we want of him, as he thus approaches us?
I. THOSE WHO WANT NOTHING IN PARTICULAR. They meet with their neighbours to worship him and to hear about him, but they have no sense of need in their hearts; their souls are not suffering and smarting under a painful sense of sin; their hearts are not athirst for the living God and Saviour. They wish for "bread enough," but it is not the bread of life for which they hunger; they would like much to be wealthy, but they arc not careful to be "rich toward God."
II. THOSE WHO WANT NOTHING OF CHRIST NOW. The time will come when they will be glad of a Saviour and Friend - some future hour of sorrow, or difficulty, or loneliness, and certainly the hour of death; they would like to keep open the line of communication, but at present they do not feel that they want anything of the great Healer of hearts. But let us look rather at -
III. WHAT WE ALL DO REALLY WANT OF HIM. If our Divine Father is not to be disappointed in us, if our lives on earth are not to be miserable failures, then may we all urge, with this blind man, "Lord, that we may receive our sight!" For it is essential to the life of our life that we should be enlightened upon:
1. The transcendent value of the human spirit, and thus understand of how much more value we ourselves are than any of our earthly surroundings, or than the body which is our temporary residence.
2. The intimate and tender relation in which we stand to God. That God is the one Being with whom we have to do, from whom we cannot withhold our love and service without doing him and ourselves the greatest wrong, who is "earnestly remembering" and patiently seeking us in our distance and estrangement.
3. The supreme and abiding blessedness of the service of Christ; that this is the soul's only true rest and portion, its peace and its inheritance. We want that these great saving truths should stand out before the eyes of our soul as the solid and living facts, in comparison with which all other things are of small account; we want to recognize in them the great verities which alone will satisfy and save us. If we would that Christ should do this for us, we must remember that what he is saying to us is this:
(1) "Learn of me;"
(2) "Believe in me;" "Have faith in me;"
(3) "Abide in me;"
(4) "Follow me." ? C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.