Verse of the Day Devotion. Mark 9:40 “For he who is not against us is for us.”
In verses Mark 9:33-37, Jesus spoke to the disciples regarding their discussion on who was greatest. And this somewhat continues regarding non-disciples. John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we tried to hinder him because he was not following us.” Mark 9:38. Because of the special and intimate relationship between Jesus and the twelve, John felt it important to notify Him of someone who was using Jesus’ name and power without the authority or approval to do so. Now it is apparent that this man knew of Jesus, or even knew Him from some time back, for He understood the power His name had. And John also told Jesus that he attempted to hinder what the man was doing because he was not a follower of Jesus as he and the others were.
However, Jesus did not approve of this. “Do not hinder him, for there is no one who shall perform a miracle in My name and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me.” Mark 9:39. What He was telling them was if they see this person again, do not hinder him. Jesus opposed the narrow exclusivism of the twelve in telling them only Jesus or themselves had the right to do these things. In fact, the actions of the disciples were an abuse of their authority because Jesus, who actually had the authority, told them they were wrong. Then He adds this thought. “for there is no one who shall perform a miracle in My name and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me.” What He was saying was if anyone perform miracles, something man himself could never do, and does it in my name they will never deny or speak evil of Him. This is in contrast to those who do not do it in Christ’s name, but in another’s name or through their own name which will ultimately result in no miracle at all.
And then we come to our focus verse. “For he who is not against us is for us.” Mark 9:40. Few if any of us are perfect in regard to our understanding of scripture. There are many that may be wrong in some aspect of their presentation or teaching, yet they still set forth Jesus in some manner. We must let God deal with them in a way He chooses. Paul saw many men preaching Jesus from many motives, yet he could rejoice that Christ was preached. “Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice, yes, and I will rejoice.” Philippians 1:15-18. There are some who teach/preach Christ in ways that are not the best, “even from envy and strife.” I have sadly seen this in several places.
Two principles of immense importance are here laid down: First, no one will readily speak evil of Jesus who has the faith to do a miracle in His name; and second, if such a person cannot be supposed to be against Him, we are to consider him for Him. Let it be carefully observed that our Lord does not say this man should not have followed them, nor yet that He was indifferent whether he did or not; but simply teaches how such a person was to be regarded as one who honors His name and a promoter of His cause.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.
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