When I read this passage -
At that time, John said to Jesus,
“Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name,
and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.”
Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him.
There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name
who can at the same time speak ill of me.
For whoever is not against us is for us.
I first thought about ecumenism in today’s world. Though I know that this was not what Jesus was talking about, (because the Protestant Reformation did not happen for over a thousand years later) it did seem a thought worth pondering. All of us Christian religions have one major thing in common. We follow Christ! With all of our differences, we at least agree on one thing collectively – one Person – Jesus Christ – and He is the most important!! We should (without compromising on our own beliefs) respect each other, and work together to spread the light of Christ to our weary, mixed up, hungry world. We’re in this together!
I think what Jesus was telling the apostles was that even though the people in question did not belong to their core group, they had to be doing God’s work. The mighty deeds that were being performed in Christ’s name would not have been so “mighty” if done in another’s name. If they were not done in His name, they would have been fruitless – powerless. Here, I recall the awesome power of the Name of Jesus. No other Name carries such power, such weight…and as such it should be used only with honor and praise.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.
Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye
than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,
where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.“
This passage makes me think of all of the filth that bombards our senses each and every day. Much of it is not within our control. That makes it all the more important to filter what we can before it seeps in.
I think of the poor teens and men who become addicted to pornography.
For me, when I was younger, it was soap operas. I grew up watching them, and simply loved them! The problem was that as I grew older the raunchier the programs got! I was hooked! There were also songs from my teen years that I loved like “My Sharona.” They had a good beat! I love to sing and would belt out every line passionately. As I grew in my faith, I started to realize more fully, that filling my ears and my eyes with such junk was not pleasing to God, and not good for me! Still, I didn’t want to give up the joy these little pleasures brought me. I prayed, “Lord, please help me to love what You love and Hate what You hate…but don’t take away my joy, PLEASE.”
It didn’t happen instantly, but it happened. I actually can’t stand to listen to music that is degrading to humans anymore. I simply turn the station when they are played on the radio. I’ve taught my children to be discerning as well! Sometimes they alert me to change the station!
The great news – I don’t even miss the soaps that I used to record everyday so as not to miss a juicy minute! I don’t miss the trashy music. The best part is that I am happier than I’ve ever been. That’s how God works! He will do the same for you. If you have any bad habits that are plaguing your senses, pray, pray, pray. God will not disappoint!