By Josh Hughes
Also . . . As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God. --Luke 18:35-43
What’s on your radar for 2017? I’m not sure how you’ve been feeling about the dawning of a new year - maybe you’re excited to launch yourself into some fresh goals or resolutions. Perhaps you’re filled with faith for how God is going to work in a relationship or a situation. Maybe 2016 kicked the tar out of you and you’re just hoping 2017 will bring some needed reprieve. Maybe you’re checking all those boxes plus a few more.
As Katie and I were talking and praying through our desires for the new year with our kids this week, I was reminded of Jesus’ words to the blind beggar in Luke 18. You’re probably familiar with this short, beautiful story. The beggar - the social outcast, the problematic person, the lowest of the lowly - hears that Jesus is passing by. His home address is at the end of his rope, and so for him there’s no question of what he should do when this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity presents itself.
He cries out for Jesus to have mercy on him. He shouts from his place of helpless desperation, only to have his cries met with rebukes from the crowds. He’s told to keep silent - Jesus is busy, Jesus is important, Jesus has things to do, after all. But he’s undeterred. He cries out “all the more” for Jesus to have mercy on him. And I love what Jesus does.
Jesus is the Creator of the cosmos, the long-expected Messiah, the Savior of the world, and within the mystery of his own holy humanity he is at that very moment upholding the universe by the word of his power… yet he isn’t too big or too busy or too important to hear the anguished cries of a lowly, suffering, hopeless man. I’m tempted to say more (I’m a pastor, after all), but I think it’s worth just inviting you to sit with that for a minute.
Jesus stopped. Can you believe it?
“What do you want me to do for you?”
And having stopped, Jesus brings the man close and offers him something amazing: an audience with the King of Kings. What do you want me to do for you? That grace-filled question is held out to needy people still today. Jesus the Christ stands ready to hear our requests, to comfort us with his presence, to renew us in his love, to give us what we need, and to heal what’s broken in us. He stands eager to infuse our spirits with fresh faith to trust him with with our circumstances.
Convinced that Jesus longs to commune with us and hear from us in prayer, we’re going to give special focus to prayer in the month of January. We’ll be preaching through the Lord’s prayer in our Sunday gatherings, and we’ll be calling the church to join in on some times of corporate prayer later this month.
But here’s some more great news: there’s no need to wait. Right now, you can set down whatever device you’re using to read this, and take up the privilege you enjoy as the child of the God of the universe, and carry your answer to that question before Him: “What do you want me to do for you?”
Whatever else may be in store for us, may we have more of Him in 2017.