Summary: Have you ever felt like you were unimportant? How do we treat those weak in the faith, the little ones?
Have you ever felt like you were unimportant? How do we treat those weak in the faith, the little ones? Let’s understand Jesus’ attitude towards believers whose faith is still small in Mark 9:38-50.
Do Not Hinder
Mark 9:38-39 John said to Him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we tried to prevent him because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me.
How many of us have had friends come to our side despite belonging to a different church? How many of us have had others hinder us because we did not have the “right” opinion? Why would we hinder those who are different from us? Doesn’t it a contradict Jesus’ instructions?
Mark 9:40 For he who is not against us is for us.
This apothegm teaches us that we should rejoice in good done by believers in Jesus of any denomination. Jesus did not tell his disciples to then go and follow the other fellow, but that they should not hinder him. We can be loyal to our denomination, and not hinder others.
A Cup of Water
Mark 9:41 For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of your name as followers of Christ, truly I say to you, he will not lose his reward.
Even the poorest can give a cup of water. A charitable act done because someone follows Jesus, shows a love of Christ as well. Even the smallest act done because of Jesus, is recognized by Him and rewarded. What small acts have you done for a stranger who followed Jesus?
Little Ones Who Believe
Mark 9:42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.”
The phrase “little ones” refers to those weak in faith, even some leaders. In context, it can also be those who believe in Jesus but belong to a different church. Unwise discussions can causes little ones to stumble. Better NOT to feed meat to those who can only handle milk.
Hands, Feet and Eyes
Mark 9:44-48 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire” If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than, having your two feet, to be cast into hell, [where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.] If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.
Using a hand, foot or eye to cause the weakest believers to stumble, puts one in danger of Gehenna’s unquenchable fire (Isaiah 66:24). Gehenna, Jerusalem’s garbage dump in the valley of Hinnom, where Canaanites sacrificed children to Molech and Chemosh, pictures the miserable end of unrepentant sinners. Let’s repent!
Be at Peace
Mark 9:49-50 “For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
Christianity has a very wide diversity of faith, but one Christ. We have little ones in the faith and giants in faith. Laity and leaders can be strong or weak. How should we treat those who may believe but are not strong? Would Jesus expect us to treat them kindly?
The church grew large in the Greek and Latin-speaking worlds. They eventually divided, each vilifying the other because they were “not following us.” Protestants are no different. We too have sinned against other Christians in similar ways. Let’s not offend or hinder each other. Be at peace with one another.
At some time or other we will all be the little guy, in feebleness of old age, in sickness, in financial ruin, in divorce, in unemployment, in business failure, in a flood or other calamity. It’s such a blessing, when we go through our own valley of the shadow of death, that someone keeps us company and walks through with us. Jesus is with us! Little ones are all around us. Let’s not hinder them. Let’s not use our hands, feet or eyes to make them stumble. Let’s be at peace with one another.
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