"I gave My life for thee, My precious blood I shed, That thou might ransomed be, and raised up from the dead." Photo by Hugo Fergusson on Unsplash.
As Jesus was leaving Jericho towards Calvary, He was stopped by the cries of the blind beggar, Bartimaeus. “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” the indigent cried when he learned Jesus was within earshot. (Mark 10:46-52)
When the crowd tried to hush him, he cried even more loudly.
His plea was not lost on Jesus, who stopped and summoned him. Jesus asked him, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
On the way to the Cross, Jesus posed a question to Bartimaeus, who was obviously in desperate need. As we mark the beginning of Holy Week, we need to hear the same question from our Lord: “What do you deeply desire?
When we are deprived, as Bartimaeus was, we are clearer about what we truly desire. If the difference were between life and death, our earnest prayers would be focused.
In good times, we are distracted by too many preferences and desires.
But in good times, we are distracted by too many preferences and desires.
Just witness how we easily lose interest in the toys we longed for after acquiring them.
New seasons in life bring new interests.
Still, the question Jesus asks penetrates deep into our souls, “What do I really want?”
This, Jesus asked as He moved towards the Cross to resolve the most critical crisis for God and humanity.
That question has to be framed in the context of another observation made in the narrative of Jesus entering Jerusalem. At the outskirts of Jerusalem, Jesus sent two of His disciples to the village to fetch a colt. If anyone were to query them, the disciples were to say, “The Lord needs it.” (Luke 19:31)
The question we should pose before we ponder our deepest longing is: “What does the Lord need from me?”
What I deeply desire should be considered in the context of what He wants. “Not my will, but Yours.” (Luke 22:42)
These are twin pillars of a fulfilled life. When we frame our deepest prayers in the light of God’s design for us, there will be exuberant joy, abiding peace and meaningful purpose in our lives.
We do not need to fear God’s design because He loves us and gave Himself for us.
We do not need to fear God’s design because He is not a capricious or tyrannical deity. He loves us, cares for us and gave Himself for us.
He was going to Jerusalem to give Himself for us when He voiced His requirement of His disciples.
To His people suffering in exile, God assured, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
In the light of God’s abounding love, we submit to His will and build our lives.
Deep calls to deep
Frances R Havergal, the hymn writer, placed the motto, “I did this for thee; what hast thou done for Me?” under a picture of Jesus in her study. On January 10, 1858, she had come in weary, and sitting down she read the motto, and the lines of her hymn flashed upon her.
She wrote them in pencil on a scrap of paper. Reading them over she thought them so poor that she tossed them on the fire, but they fell out untouched.
Showing them some months after to her father, he encouraged her to preserve them, and wrote the tune ‘Baca’ especially for those words.
Growing up in a hymn-singing culture, I savour this particular hymn, which made a deep impact on my heart and led to my eventual calling into vocational ministry.
Reflecting on God emptying heaven’s glory during Holy Week helps me define my true needs. May Havergal’s lyrics inspire you to let His sacrifice on the Cross frame your true desire.
I gave My life for thee, My precious blood I shed,
That thou might ransomed be, and raised up from the dead.
I gave, I gave My life for thee, what hast thou given for Me?
My Father’s house of light, My glory circled throne,
I left for earthly night, for wanderings sad and lone;
I left, I left it all for thee, hast thou left aught for Me?
I suffered much for thee, more than thy tongue can tell,
Of bitterest agony, to rescue thee from hell.
I’ve borne, I’ve borne it all for thee, what hast thou borne for Me?
And I have brought to thee, down from My home above,
Salvation full and free, My pardon and My love;
I bring, I bring rich gifts to thee, what hast thou brought to Me?
This article is an excerpt from the book, Ponderings En Route (Singapore, Eagles Communications, 2018), and is republished with permission. The book is available for purchase at www.eagles.org.sg.