Mark 9: 38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40 For the one who is not against us is for us. 41 For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.
Jesus had sat down and called the 12 disciples over. (verse 35) They had been squabbling about who was the greatest and after Jesus set them straight. (verse 34) Here they go again with this elitist garble. John tells Jesus that they saw someone casting out demons in his name, but that they were not apart of their group, “he was not following us.” How frustrating would it have been to Jesus to hear that they wanted to stop someone from casting out demons? They could not do it. (verse 19) What is interesting is Jesus says, “Do not stop him”
If you look at what Jesus said, you can see clearly that Jesus must have thought that those who do acts of mercy and kindness, casting out demons, and freeing people from oppression, and sickness could not, after these mighty work in his name, speak evil of him. Meaning they would not be an enemy of Christ but rather an ally.
Later in the scriptures Paul would say in Philippians 1:15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. 16 The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.
When we look across the landscape of Christian church life, how often do we see people who would like to silence the other Christian branches. No, they don’t all have the same expression. Some don’t interpret the scripture the same. But from what I see here: If Christ be the reason and the proclamation, don’t stop them. I know many would have a different view and stance. Some will rail on teaching and preachers for doctrinal things, and others about the form and use of expression.
Could a parallel be draw between these disciples and those who want to silence parts of the Christian Church? Could their issue have been “control” rather than to see the expression of love being displayed by those willing to cast out a demon in the name of Christ? Even Paul didn’t try to stop them from preaching Christ with a bad attitudes like envy, rivalry, selfish ambition and pretense.
‘If Christ be preached regardless of the form or fashion, could we rejoice, and let the Holy Spirit lead his people? It is not our job to police the Church, it is our responsibility to live in community with a body of believers, and to spur each other on to love and good works!(Hebrews 10:24) Look at the last verse, (Mark 9:41) For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward. Doing good is better than having to being right! Doing good expresses care to another, while having to ‘be right‘ often just expresses our own elitist vision, of being the greatest.