March 14, 2006

Targeting the Wrong Enemy

Mark 9:38-41

"Whoever is not against us is for us." Mark 9:40


The disciples had come across a man doing ministry in Jesus' name, but he wasn't one of them. So they decided to put a stop to this "unauthorized" ministry to protect Jesus' reputation.

Afterward they told Jesus about it and probably expected him to say something like "Well done, my friends. You put this ?Lone Ranger' out of business. The kingdom is safer now. Thank you." But that's not what Jesus said. Instead, he said, "Do not stop him."

The disciples were stunned by Jesus' response. Then Jesus added, "Whoever is not against us is for us."

If we're honest, sometimes we Christians can be overly protective of our own territory. We see others ministering or worshiping Jesus in a different style than we use, and it makes us uncomfortable. But Jesus cautions us to be careful in how we speak about one another.

We live in a time when the gospel of Jesus is increasingly under attack. We need our fellow believers, and we have to admit that there is often more that binds us together than what separates us. When Christians pray and work together, it honors God and creates a powerful witness. Jesus prayed for us at the end of his ministry with these words: "Father ... may they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them" (John 17:23).

Father, forgive me for the times I have been disrespectful of Christians of other traditions. Bless your church around the world, that the world may see your love in us. Amen.

About the author — Kevin DeRaaf

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