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LESSON 106 - MARK 9:38-41

38Now 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." 39But 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.

1. How does what John asks connect with the disciples previous debate about being greatest in the kingdom?

2. As you read through this short passage, what phrase was repeated three times?

a. How were the demons cast out?

b. Was the power in the man doing the work or the Name which was used?

c. What was John's problem?

3. What does Jesus call "casting out demons?"

4. What was the disciples' response to what the man did? Why?

a. What should John and the others have done?

5. What was Jesus' response to John's question?

6. What does the cup of water represent? How did this connect with the man John had confronted?

Possible answers

1. The disciples had been debating who would be greatest in the kingdom. By John's statement, you can see that he and some others were very interested in position. They saw themselves as in authority and thought others should defer to them. They didn't want anyone doing the work of God unless they did it under the disciples' authority. John said, "He does not follow us."

2. "In My Name"

a. Through the power of Jesus' name.

b. The power was in the Name of Jesus. Here's a different account, the healing of a lame man through Peter and John, after the cross and the resurrection of Jesus. (By this time, Jesus had returned to heaven.) Notice what Peter says to explain the miracle. Acts 3:11-16 11Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon’s, greatly amazed. 12So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: "Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13"The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. 14"But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer (Barabbas) to be granted to you, 15"and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. 16"And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

c. John thought the man should be subject to him and the other disciples. John said, "He does not follow us."

3. A miracle

4. They told him to quit. He wasn't a member of their group. He hadn't joined them in their ministry and travel with Jesus. They didn't invite him to join the group. They didn't commend him for his understanding that the name of Jesus was powerful and effective against demons. They didn't compliment him for doing good work among those who were captives of the devil. They just told him to stop.

This is called "being territorial." We see this in children who won't share their toys. A child will grab a toy out of another child's hands and shout, "Mine."

The disciples should have gone to Jesus first and gotten His wisdom on the matter. Then they would have known how to handle the problem.

Principle: Always go to the Lord in prayer about a problem or situation before confronting the issue. Ask for wisdom. God has promised to provide it. ( James 1:5-7)

The disciples and John should have welcomed this man into the work of God rather than forbidding him to use Jesus' name to cast out demons. This man believed in the power of Jesus' name and was helping captives to be set free from the devil.

5. Jesus said those who do work in My name will not speak badly of Me. They will testify for Me.

"They who are not against us are for us." In the future, when the man was asked how he could do this casting out of demons, he would have to explain Who Jesus was, thereby giving a testimony of Jesus as the Messiah Who had come to free them and save them, as Isaiah 61:1 said, which Jesus quoted in Luke 4:16-21 as His mission statement. The important thing is not whether others are doing the work of God the way you think they ought to do it, but whether they are doing the work of God based on faith in Jesus Christ and under direction of the Holy Spirit.

6. Even the least small thing, like a cup of water, done to help a child of God will be remembered and rewarded. Did you know that deeds are recorded in heaven?

For Christians there will be a rewards ceremony where you will receive rewards for the good you have done. You can read more about this in 1 Corinthians 3, 2 Timothy 4:8, Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 26, 28, 3:5, 12, 21)

For sinners, there will be a judgment at the end of the 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ on the Earth.

Rom 2:16 16in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.

Rev 20:12-13 12And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God ([the Son] John 5:22), and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.

The man John confronted about casting out demons in Jesus' name was doing a lot more for the kingdom of heaven than giving a cup of water.

Some knowledgeable of the Bible might ask "What's the difference between this man and the sons of Sceva who tried to cast out demons in Acts19:11-20?" The sons of Sceva were beaten up by the demons they tried to cast out. Sceva was a Jewish chief priest in Ephesus during the time of the apostle Paul's work. The seven sons of Sceva were traveling exorcists, selling amulets, herbs, and "magic" words (usually repeated syllables) to make money. They scammed the people in the areas they visited. They decided they could make more money by doing what Paul did, using the name of Jesus. They recognized His name was very powerful compared to what they were doing. When they tried to imitate Paul, the demons beat them up. The seven sons of Sceva had no right or authority over the demons and the demons knew it. If the sons of Sceva had believed on Jesus as Messiah, preached Jesus to the people,and made that the basis of their exorcisms, it would have been a different story.