With more than 2.3 billion followers (take that Twitter!), almost a third of the world’s population, there is no doubt Jesus is a leader. But what sort of a leader is He? and, if we are to follow Jesus, what sort of leaders should we be (since each of us has someone who looks up to them in some respect)? In chapter 10 of Mark’s gospel we see that Jesus is a servant leader.
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” — Mark 10:45 (ESV)
But what does it look like to imitate Jesus? Just a few verses later we get an example of how Jesus lets others set the agenda. For context, a blind man, called Bartimaeus, is irritating a whole bunch of people as he screams out for king Jesus to have mercy on him. The more that people want him to shut up the louder he gets. (This may bring to mind some difficult person you have had dealings with?) Jesus asks Bart a simple question, one we can easily copy, in verse 51:
And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” — Mark 10:51a (ESV)
It is the question of a servant (of good customer service) and, for those of us who risk asking it, it puts us at someone else’s disposal — even at the disposal of someone who is loud and annoying, like Bart. As God, Jesus had intimate knowledge of what the man wanted within His grasp, and most people would probably guess that what a blind person would want most is sight. Yet Jesus doesn’t preempt him. Jesus gives him room to formulate his own reply, to dig deep and express his heartfelt desire.
You might be contemplating how you would respond if Jesus asked you, “What do you want me to do for you?” Sadly, some may seek to exploit the question, like the brothers James and John, who sought to use it as an opportunity to tussle for rank at the only other occurrence of this question from Jesus in the book of Mark (Mark 10:35-45). Of course none of us is in the position to dictate when God will work a miracles but the beauty is that, armed with Jesus’ question, God will use us to meet each other’s more basic needs. Some will need to wait for heaven for Jesus to grant them healing.
You may feel that asking someone, “What do you want me to do for you?” is beneath you. Thankfully, Jesus, the king of the universe, was willing to stoop down and assume the role of a servant, our servant, and met our greatest need at the cross, giving His life to ransom many.
Jesus, our Servant King, have mercy on us. Open our eyes to recognise Your beauty as One who, even though You are worthy to be served, gives up Your vitality, Your very life, in order to serve us by paying the debt we owed. Help us become more like You by asking each other, “What do you want me to do for you?”