Hey WordPress :) I read Mark 9:36-41 today. I think the clear resounding call in this section is that there is power in the name of Jesus and that His name turns society upside down.
This comes in the context from the verses before this section where Jesus rebukes them about wanting to be the greatest saying “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and servant of all.” It seems that His disciples have begun believing they have status because they are Jesus’ disciples. They think they’re the awesome ones instead of the awesome One they belong to. Jesus I think tries to reveal this to them in showing them 3 examples.
“Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the One who sent me.”
– Mark 9:37
I think Jesus uses the example of children here because children aren’t seen super highly in society. They’re inexperienced, learning and definitely haven’t earned their respect yet. But Jesus here says that welcoming them in His name is welcoming Him and welcoming the One who sent Jesus, who is God the Father. When you want to be the greatest or the “first” you have to be the “very last, and the servant of all.” And the ‘lowest’ of all are these children.
2) Casting out Demons
“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 9:39-40
The disciples here are trying to stop some dude casting out demons because “he was not one of us.” I think this is helping us understand the heart of the disciples. The key reason is because that person is not of them. I think it alludes to the disciples thinking they have some sort of status because they’re “The Twelve Special Disciples that Jesus has chosen.” I think they’ve begun to forget that they’re not the special ones but instead they’re chosen by The Special One.
3) Cup of Water
“I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name
because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.”
– Mark 9:41
Giving a cup of water isn’t really a hard task. Anyone can do it. It’s not a glorious, strenuous or impressive task. But Jesus says that if they do that ‘small task’ for His people “will certainly not lose his reward.” Which is an insane thing to say. If you’re looking by an employment job standard, this makes no sense, you’re securing someone eternal life because you’ve seen them give a cup of water to someone. It’s a bit insane. Jesus is absolutely honing down on the disciples false understanding of their ‘status’ and smashing it to bits.
The disciples have been rebuked by Jesus in these 3 different situations:
Children | the lowest/least of society
Casting out Demons | not part of the #ExclusiveJesusDiscipleGroup
Cup of Water | the simplest and easiest task
Tying them all together is doing them “in Jesus name,” because it’s Jesus’ name that causes you to:
- Welcome children – the least in society
- Drive out demons – because Jesus’ name has power not the special disciple group
- Give cups of water – because you’re serving those who belong to Jesus Jesus’ name turns society on it’s head regardless of how ‘great’ you are, what your ‘status’ is or how ‘simple’ your task is.
The ways that I want to begin applying these truths into my life is to:
Welcome the least | I struggle to welcome those who are elitists and those who persecute the church openly. Will I love and welcome those who I see to be the “least in society” in Jesus name?
Not take status in belonging to Jesus | I cannot take any societal status for being a Christian, for working in ministry, or being in a particular denomination/having a certain theological belief. Will I unify and love those in the church who I see as having a “lesser status than me” in Jesus name?
Take tasks big and small for Jesus | It matters not how ‘big’ or how ‘small’ the task I’m doing for the Jesus is. I want to do everything all in the name of Jesus for His glory not myself. Will I strive to bless and support those who belong to Jesus financially, prayerfully and lovingly in Jesus name?
For there most definitely is power in the name of Jesus. A power that turns society and our pride upside down. Let us look to our Saviour who was the Last and Servant of All.
“If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
– Mark 9:35