Thursday, May 28, 2015

Ask and you shall receive?

Chapter 10 of Mark's gospel ends with two very similar stories. In both Jesus asks the same question,

What would you have me do for you?

What precedes and follows the question is however very different.

In the first story the sons of Zebedee approach Jesus and tell him,

We want you to do for us whatever we ask.

In the second story, Bartimeus is called by Jesus.

In the first story, the brothers want places of honor.
In the second Bartimeus answers the question with the word, anablepo.

This word means both to see again or to look up, like one looking up to heaven.

In the first story the request is denied.
In the second story, Bartimeus is assured by that his faith has made him whole and immediately he is given precisely what he asked for and in response the gospel tells us

He followed Jesus on the way.

While we may not be as blunt as the brothers in saying we want Jesus to give us whatever we ask  for, we can often have the same attitude.

Yes, the Bible does say ask and you shall receive but St. Mark puts these two stories back to back to remind us that what we ask for and the way we ask matters.