38 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” 39 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40 for whoever is not against us is for us. 41 Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward. ~ Mark 9:38-41
Today, we return to our study of Mark 9 where the main subject is discipleship. Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said, "Salvation is free, but discipleship will cost you your life." No truer words have been spoken. Discipleship is synonymous with sanctification, and the nice thing about the Lord is He is in no hurry when it comes to making us His disciples.
The disciples were obviously struggling with the fact that some of them could not cast a demon out of the young man. This was yet another opportunity for the Lord Jesus to change the culture inside of these who had left everything to follow Him. And, unique to His ministry to His followers, He meets us right where we were.
The late Mike Yaconelli once said, "The disciples of Jesus were often clueless, selfish, afraid, and made a lot of mistakes. In other words, they were very human. Just like you and me. Like us, they struggled with things like fear, doubt, laziness, weakness, sensitivity, brokenness, alienation, hunger, immaturity, and pride." And, we who are being taught by Him today are no different.
In v.38 of today's passage we read, "Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us."
One of the twelve disciples, John, assumed that only the twelve could cast a demon out of the possessed. John, as well as the others, did not understand that it is the power of the name of the Lord Jesus that brings about such miracles. What appalled John was that this person was actually succeeding at casting out demons in the name of the Lord! John and the other disciples were troubled by the success of this unknown person.
The disciples had just had an argument about which one of them was the greatest, and they certainly did not want anybody else succeeding outside their group. The mark of greatness is that we look not at a person's successes, nor even at the things they stand for, but that we see a human being who is being taught by the Lord. And, if others are respecting the name of the Lord Jesus, we must not discourage them.
In v.39-40 of today's passage we read, "39 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40 for whoever is not against us is for us."
God responds to the cry of faith in Him. And though the disciples knew nothing about this person and what he believed, the fact that God was answering him, and demons were being cast out, indicated that there was something to his ministry. We must be careful not to reject such, especially when it appears they are believers in the Lord Jesus.
In v.41 of today's passage we read, "Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward."
Even a cup of water given in the name of Christ will never lose its reward. Every opportunity taken to help someone develop into fullness of health spiritually, as well as in soul and body, is to be rewarded by God. But, the disciples were struggling with pride, and the Lord Jesus was teaching them that there is not to be competitors in the family of God.
The Lord Jesus used the word "reward" because His disciples were desirous of greatness which equals glory which equals reward. They were looking for their earnings. Their pride was defining them. What they needed was humility. So, the Lord Jesus gave them an example: a cup of water in His name. One of the most insignificant things we can do for another. Whereas the world appeals to our pride, the Lord Jesus will always appeal to our humility.
The world says humility is a losing concept, but God's kingdom is not a competition. We have been duped by this world when we believe that if we end up on the bottom, we will lose our reward. According to the culture of the Lord Jesus, a simple act of sacrificial kindness will result in what can never be achieved by elevating ourselves. No, God humbles the proud and He exalts the humble.