When Jesus and his entourage entered Jericho, crowds were on hand to greet him. His wonder-working fame had preceeded him. Above the crowd noise, a man could be heard yelling,
"Son of David, have mercy on me!"
The crowd told him to shut up, but he yelled all the louder. Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. He then asked the blind beggar,
"What do you want me to do for you?"
It might seem obvious what the man wanted since he was blind and Jesus was famous for healing. But Jesus' question, like all his questions, was serious and he wanted the man to respond with specifics. After all, he was a beggar too. Maybe he wanted a charitable gift. Jesus said, in effect, I am asking a serious question and I want you to give me a straight answer. So the blind beggar answers,
"Lord, I want to see."
Then and only then Jesus restores his sight.
When we pray, we are often too general and vague. Bless me and bless so and so, etc. This story encourages us to ask Jesus specifically for what we want, then believe and expect a specific response according to what we asked for. See: Luke 11:24.
Jesus and his crew continue to walking through and out of Jericho. He spots Zacchaeus, the despised tax collector, up in a tree looking down at him. Jesus yells,
"Zacchaeus! Come down right now. I must stay at your house today."
When the people saw this, they began to mutter about Jesus going to be the guest of a sinner. Zach was a loathed collaborator with the Roman occupiers. He not only collected Roman taxes, but by his own admission, he also extorted and defrauded and grew rich on the backs of his religious community.
At some point during dinner, Zach is healed and transformed. He blurts out,
"Lord! I give half of what I have to the poor and will give back four times what I have extorted."
Coming into Jericho, Jesus heals a poor victim. Going out of Jericho, he heals a rich victimizer. Here is the sweep of the grace of God that comes to us in Jesus. Zach is the worst man in town. Everyone who heard Jesus say,
"I MUST stay with you today,"
knows that our relative morality or religious performance is irrelevant to him.
He loves all and wants to be gracious to all.
Knowing this we can, with confidence, do what the blind beggar did.
Ask Jesus for what you want and expect something good to result.
So WHAT DO YOU WANT?
~ I am off to Thailand for a few weeks. Will post again when I return.