Unlimited: Not One of Us
Jan 22, 2021 1044
“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.”
“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, for whoever is not against us is for us. 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, NIV).
Jesus rebuked his disciples for arguing about who was the greatest, and he told them that the first must be the very last, and the servant of all. He told them that whoever welcomes a little child welcomes him. He told them that he expected them to welcome everyone.
But his disciple John was troubled. Surely there must be some hierarchy? Surely there must be some “them” and “us”?
John was still trying to understand. So, John came up with a very good example of where it seemed important to make a difference. He told Jesus about people who seemed to be like “us” but don’t go along with “us”. Surely, John argued, if you don’t make a difference between “them” and “us,” they might give “us” a bad name. People might confuse them with us.
But Jesus said, “No.” He conveyed to them, “You don’t know how God works. He doesn’t just work through you. You must not stop them or be against them.”
And then Jesus turned the argument around. Not only did he tell them to be welcoming of others, but then Jesus told his disciples that whoever it may be that welcomes them will also be blessed by God.
As humans, it’s natural for us to categorise others. It’s how we make sense of the world. But Jesus is telling us that it’s wrong to see anyone as less acceptable to God than yourself.
– Eliezer Gonzalez
Eli’s Reflection: What are the differences you make between people? Where are the barriers you put up? Sometimes they’re based on politics, or class, or education, or religious views. Isn’t it time for us to do what the disciples had to do: reconsider? And maybe even repent?