Read Mark 9:30-50.
Devotion by: Lynne Fukutani
Travel and Teaching
John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he wasn’t in our group.”
“Don’t stop him!” Jesus said. “No one who performs a miracle in my name will soon be
able to speak evil of me. Anyone who is not against us is for us. If anyone gives you even a cup of water because you belong to the Messiah, I tell you the truth, that person will surely be rewarded.” Mark 9:38-41
How John-like to object to someone outside the Twelve doing miracles! John, who sought prestige within the group of Jesus’ disciples, whose attitude of superiority reflects an episode in the Old Testament.
And a young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” And Joshua the son of Nun, the assistant of Moses from his youth, said, “My lord Moses, stop them.” But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets, that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!” Numbers 11:27-29
I can almost hear Moses’ words in Jesus’ response to John, “Are you jealous?” This incident revealed the Twelve’s narrow exclusivism. Jesus wasn’t concerned with what group the exorcist associated. Jesus’ concern centered on the exorcist’s heart and faith.
It’s just before John’s outburst about the exorcist that a man had brought his son to Jesus for healing saying,
“Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” Mark 9:17-18
Members of the exclusive Twelve couldn’t perform a miracle in Jesus’ name, but the unknown exorcist could. Shouldn’t they have been curious rather than jealous? Jesus knew that if the exorcist had chanted Jesus’ name as a sort of magical spell, God would not have allowed the miracle. Therefore, the exorcist’s faith must have been adequate to call on Jesus’ name with efficacy. So rather than dismissing this guy as “not us,” why didn’t the disciples beat a path to meet him? Invite him in? Offer to introduce him to Jesus?
We have no time for such nonsense as exclusivity. Jesus is coming back, maybe today. Are we going to dismiss anyone who seeks Him? May it never be!