Summary: A study of the Gospel of Mark 9: 38 – 41
Mark 9: 38 – 41
In The Name Of!
38 Now John answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. 40 For he who is not against us is on our side. 41 For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.
Now before we go over these verses we need to take a look at what both Matthew and Luke wrote on the same teaching of our Lord.
Matthew 10:40-42, “40 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. 41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”
Luke 9:49-50, “49 Now John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us.” 50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side.”
Well, what do you think? Are they different? Yes they are, yet you can see the underlining truth where all three are in balance. In this next subsection our Lord Jesus reveals the things that are pleasing and displeasing to God. Seeking greatness displeases Him, while seeking to do things for The Son Of God, our Lord Jesus’ sake pleases Him. Causing those who believe in Him to sin displeases Him, while being a true representative of His, pleases Him.
38 Now John answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.”
Turn on your televisions and you might hear the son of some famous preacher imitate others who were before them. They use the same techniques and statements, like they are somehow magical. They talk in a funny language, like somehow the have to speak slowly and emphasize each word such as ‘in the Name of’. These four little words take about two minutes to be spoken while allowing those deaf or in their graves to somehow hear. These guys may be sincere, but they bother me, sorry.
We are reminded here that the disciples did not just stay at all times with The Lord Jesus. They were given errands to fulfill and they at times went out preaching. Perhaps it was on one such mission that they met the man described here. And on that occasion John and at least one other (‘we’) were bothered at the fact that this man dared to exercise the prerogative which they saw as given to the Apostles. Indeed they had forbidden him. Who was he that he should do so? What right had he to so exalt himself? But The Master, our Lord Jesus will now tell them that they should have realized that the success of the man’s attempts revealed that he was a genuine believer whom God was blessing.
John’s attitude revealed his limited viewpoint. Instead of seeing that the man’s success showed that God was with him and giving glory to God Who worked in such remarkable ways, he had been offended because the man dared to use The Lord Jesus’ name without being a regular disciple.
Now for those of you who are bible students you might be thinking of the situation in the book of Acts where the sons of Sceva had tried the same type of ministry in chapter 19, “ Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” 14 Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” 16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.”
How do you explain the difference? The answer is that they were using The Lord Jesus’ name as a magical formula not out of a deep belief in Him. The sons did what seems on the surface to be the same, but they were simply using Jesus’ name as an exorcist’s tool. They did it for their own benefit rather than to glorify God. There they were unsuccessful and discovered that Jesus’ name was not to be trifled with.