Verse of the Day Devotion Luke 9:50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you.”
Our focus verse, and the one before it is a follow up of the prior three verses where the disciples asked Jesus who among them was the greatest. “And an argument arose among them as to which of them might be the greatest.” Luke 9:46. And then Jesus adds, “Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for he who is least among you, this is the one who is great.” Luke 9:48. This last part of verse 48 obviously was not understood by His disciples. What Jesus said in this last verse, John responded to with the following. “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to hinder him because he does not follow along with us.” Luke 9:49. The depth of John’s, and probably some of the other disciples as well, of his incomprehension of what Jesus had just told them is unconceivable.
Think about this. John had witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus where His glory was manifest to them, and where a voice from heaven, God the Father, said, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!” Luke 9:35b. Nevertheless, John’s words of concern not only contradict Jesus’ message, but are actually seen as a response to Jesus. Jesus had basically negated conventional ways by declaring that “for he who is least among you, this is the one who is great.” Luke 9:48. Then, just after this, John contradicts Jesus by declaring “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to hinder him because he does not follow along with us.” Luke 9:49.
What John did here was to place himself and the others as greater than this one who was casting our demons. The fact that this one was able to cast demons out in Jesus’ name is evidence that God approved of what he was doing. Remember, it is through the power of God that anyone has the ability to cast out these evil spirits. It is God working through this man that he succeeded in this work. We see this in the story of the sons of Sceva, showing it is the power of God and not our own. “And God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out. But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.” And seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” Acts 19:11-16.
Now to our focus verse. God has called all who are Christians to do His work. John and the others wanted to forbid this other person from casting out demons, in Jesus name, because He was not one of them, the twelve. And they believed this even though he had shown himself to be successful in his work for Christ. Mark shows this by including these words of Jesus. “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me.” Mark 9:39. If God worked through him to cast out demons, then he was on their side, and more importantly, on God’s side. Therefore, Jesus said the following in a mild corrective way to tell them they are not the only ones who will do these things. “But Jesus said to him, Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you.” Luke 9:50. It is important that we do not hinder anyone who is doing the work of God simply because we are not in the same group as they are. Jesus works through all who are followers of Him. Let us not look down on anyone whom God is working through in this world. We may not know them, but He does, and that is what matters.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.
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