“Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we told him to stop because he was not one of us.”  39 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40 for whoever is not against us is for us. 41 Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.”  (Mark 9:38—41)


         John saw someone driving out demons in Jesus’ name, and they told them to stop because he was not one of them.  How interesting that John and his friend’s spirit exist today among Christian ministries.  Testing every Spirit to see if they are of Christ is essential.  Nothing much has been told why they stopped the man, but the only reason John and his friends gave was, “BECAUSE HE WAS NOT ONE OF US.”

         Jesus saw beyond what John and his friends saw.  Jesus saw that the man did miracles in His name.  Jesus saw that although the man was not one of the 12 whom he chose to be with him, he did miracles in His name.  We are not called to call people unqualified just because they don’t wear the same name as us or the same name as our organization. 

         Jesus is the one who qualifies and authorizes whomever he pleases to do his work.  Jesus sees beyond labels and qualifications and catches people’s hearts.  There are many other disciples of Jesus besides the twelve he called to be with him.  John and his friends should’ve delved in deeper and asked the man first if he was a follower of Jesus or not.  People do not need my permission to follow Jesus and do things in the name of Jesus.  They need to hear from Jesus and obey what Jesus is leading them to do. 

         I cannot stop anyone from doing the work that Jesus may have led them to do.  Off course, there are times when people claim to have heard from Jesus and yet do things differently from the truth of Jesus in his Word.  I must learn to discern first, watch the fruit of people’s ministry, and talk with them to learn what they are doing to gain understanding. 

         The label, BECAUSE HE WAS NOT ONE OF US, looks pretty elitist.  The call to follow Jesus was not limited to the twelve apostles but to all who have been redeemed by Christ, whose sins have been forgiven and made holy by his blood, who qualifies to be his followers and able to do the works Jesus does.  Jesus does not need a particular US-ONLY group.  He wants obedient and willing servants who do what he calls them to do.  This young man who cast out demons was doing it so in the name of Jesus.  Jesus said to John, Don’t Stop him.  Jesus knew more about that young man who followed him than the disciples themselves.

         We are called to follow Jesus only, not Jesus’ disciples.  We can learn from the disciples, but we are foremost followers and lovers of Christ.  That is what’s essential to Christ. 


         Sometimes, I fall into this US-ONLY mentality.  I tend to look at what others are doing and see them as not legit work.  I stand corrected and rebuked of this kind of spirit today.  I must always look to Jesus and pray for those doing ministry, even though they may be doing it differently from what I am doing.  Jesus does not belong to my organization, only me.  Jesus belongs to whomever He called to be with him.  I do repent of this spirit and attitude that, from time to time, sprung up and caused me to sin.


         Jesus, in humility, I ask for your forgiveness for allowing my fleshly desires and thoughts to keep others away from what you are doing through them.  Teach me to see that you are working with people whom you choose to do your work.  Teach me to encourage those you call to ministry whether I see them qualify or not.  I ask that you give me the heart to know that you can also use others who love and follow you.  Amen!