Children love to make wish lists of what they would do with $100 (or perhaps given inflation, $1 million!). They dream of getting a pony or new toys or taking an exciting trip to see a favorite sports team play or to visit loved ones. Many children include altruistic endeavors, such as “feed all the hungry people” or “give everyone a house to live in.”
If you could have anything that you wanted, what would you ask for? Most of us know that genies in magic bottles don’t exist, and we are wise enough to know that God isn’t a heavenly vending machine, waiting for us to put in our prayer so that He can dispense the particular candy we want. But in our passage today, a man did encounter the Son of God, and Jesus asked him to name what it was that he wanted.
For the next several days we’re going to focus on Jesus’ questions that demand an answer. The blind beggar in our reading was used to asking for things—mostly alms and assistance. When he heard that Jesus was passing by, he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (v. 38). He was physically blind, but he had enough spiritual insight to identify Jesus as the Son of David, the Messiah.
At first glance, Jesus’ question to the man seems strange. Jesus knew he was blind; isn’t it obvious what he wanted? But Jesus’ question isn’t some perfunctory exercise, akin to making a child say “please.” Jesus was asking the man to reveal the desire of his heart—did he only want money? A temporary fix?
Instead, the blind man asked to be healed, trusting that Jesus the Messiah had the power and the compassion to do that. Jesus healed his sight, commended his faith, and God received the glory, praise, and worship.