Her email arrived late in a long day. In truth, I didnt open it. I was working overtime to help a family member manage his serious illness. I didnt have time, therefore, for social distractions.
The next morning, however, when I clicked on my friends message, I saw this question: Can I help you in any way? Feeling embarrassed, I started to answer no. Then I took a deep breath to pause. I noticed then that her question sounded familiarif not divine.
Thats because Jesus asked it. Hearing a blind beggar call out to Him on the Jericho Road, Jesus stopped to ask this man, named Bartimaeus, a similar question. Can I help? Or as Jesus said: What do you want me to do for you? (Mark 10:51).
The question is stunning. It shows the Healer, Jesus, longs to help us. But first, were invited to admit needing Hima humbling step. The professional beggar Bartimaeus was needy, indeedpoor, alone, and possibly hungry and downcast. But wanting a new life, he simply told Jesus his most basic need. Rabbi, he said, I want to see.
For a blind man, it was an honest plea. Jesus healed him immediately. My friend sought such honesty from me too. So I promised her Id pray to understand my basic need and, more important, Id humbly tell her. Do you know your basic need today? When a friend asks, tell it. Then take your plea even higher. Tell God.
Todays story is a beautiful picture of the compassion of our Savior. Even to those He initially refused to help (see the story of the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15:2128), He stretched out a merciful and loving hand. All of His actions proved the claim He made at the beginning of His ministryHe was anointed by God and came to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lords favor (Luke 4:1819).
But while Jesus is the epitome of mercy, He didnt heal everyone. In the stories recorded in Scripture, we are told He healed all who came to him (see Matthew 8:16). But thats the qualificationthey came to Him. He healed all who admitted their need of something only He could provide.
Jesus still welcomes everyone who comes to Him. He may not always heal in the same way He did while He was here on Earth, but He still offers forgiveness and salvation to anyone who asks.