[ecko_quote source=" Mark 9:38"]"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"[/ecko_quote]
At first glance, it appears as a noble thing that Jesus’ disciples kept such careful guard over the orthodoxy of Jesus’ ministry. The disciples of Jesus found someone casting out demons in Jesus’ name who was not a part of their group and not under their control, and they demanded that he stop. Yet Jesus saw through His disciples’ hypocrisy. The disciples themselves had been given power to drive out demons as well (Matthew 10:8), yet they had failed miserably (Mark 9:28) We can see same principles operating in current day Fellowships and Churches who are not rooted correctly in the living Word.
How it must have embarrassed the disciples to have publicly failed to cast out a demon from a young boy. Yet, here was someone successfully exorcising demons. Someone who was not a "regular" with Jesus as the disciples were. They should have been concerned with their own lack of spiritual power and vitality. They should have felt convicted by their Lord’s stinging rebuke at their lack of faith (Matthew 17:20). Instead, they focused on others. Rather than repenting of their sin and grieving over their spiritual impotence, the disciples attempted to hinder someone who was enjoying spiritual success.
Recently, I have experienced similar encounter where some of the fellowship leaders strongly objected and sent some emails not to encourage me nor use me to preach the living Word. One of the Pastors said to his congregation to arrest me and my activities. How shameful? These persecutions from insiders will surely strengthen me even more to proclaim my dear Lord’s saving grace.
I really pity those ignorant people and question myself as to who would reap the loss of not listening to the engrafted word. It’s obvious it would be no one but poor members of the congregation. It’s my humble and sincere request for those in authority not to object/or put hurdles to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But use and honor the Servants of God who bring blessings to the congregation and families.
Coming back to our text for today, at times, it is easier to diminish other’s spiritual victories than to honestly confront our own failures. Jesus’ response to His disciples must have surprised them as He said,” Don’t stop him (Mark 9:39). He assured them that “whoever is not against us is for us” (Mark 9:40). Have you learned this vital lesson? Are you able to genuinely rejoice in the spiritual victories of others? Examine and stop yourself falling into the hands of the living God.
Pastor Jonah Ravinder- United Telugu Church - Auckland, New Zealand; Experiencing God Day By Day