“Teacher,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us.“ (Mark 9:38-40, NIV)
This Sunday we’ll be looking at the life of the Disciple John – the other half of the famous “Sons of Thunder” duo. Like his brother, James, he’s a piece of work. In every other instance in the Gospels, John is shown with someone else – a disciple or Jesus himself. But this passage is the one place where John is shown acting and speaking on his own. It’s a window to his soul…and it ain’t pretty!
John runs into someone doing wonderful things in the name of Jesus and the disciple shuts him down. Why? He wasn’t “one of us.” The other guy didn’t have the right background or credentials. Have you ever heard of such legalism, sectarianism, egotism and self-righteousness? Sure you have: the Pharisees!
In fact, in his own Gospel account, John is arguably the toughest of the four on the Pharisees’ legalism, sectarianism, egotism and self-righteousness. John loves to let them have it.
Isn’t it funny how we can see glaring faults in others, but miss our own? We call them “blind-spots” for a reason, I guess.
At this point, Jesus’ rebuke of John is straightforward. Jesus says: “That guy ministering in my name is not your problem.” Then, Jesus tells him (in the next 8 verses) to watch himself…to keep himself holy.
I find that my own holiness is a full-time vocation for me. My own holiness is an all-consuming 24/7/365 job. I don’t have time to go and correct everyone else. And Jesus reminds me, that’s not my business anyway.
I hope you’ll join us Sunday as we see how Jesus taught John balance in life.
It’s Mothers’ Day and every lady will be receiving a Queen Esther’s cupcake, so make sure you bring Mom!
See you then!