21st April 2023
Read - Mark 9:38-41
Message Alan Burke
Jesus here in this section had been challenging the disciples view of what it means to belong to Jesus. They had been caught up in themselves, in the perceived exclusiveness of being part of the twelve but as Jesus had confronts them with the truth after they had told him that they had stoped a man from casting out demons in Jesus’ name was showing that he was not against Jesus and as Jesus says, v40 “for whoever is not against us is for us.” In Matthew 12:30 Jesus says the same thing in a slightly different way; “He who is not with me is against me. (Mt 12:30).
Both convey the same principle, either you are with Jesus or against him, if you’re not against him then you are for him. But this isn’t teaching such a thing a neutrality, that you can sit on on the fence undecided when it comes to Jesus, that you haven’t made your mind up, thinking that that you’re not opposed to him and his people, for there is no such thing as neutrality, if you’re not on his side, in his team then you’re against him.
Jesus was teaching his disciples this man that they tried to stop was not working against them, instead he was with them, for them, they were the same team, they were working for Christ and his kingdom. 1 Corinthians 15:3–4 reminds us of what is essential, what it is to be for Jesus, in the same team to be working for Christ and his kingdom, this is what we are told;
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (ESV)
Of first importance for the church, for believers is that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, this is key, if this isn’t the message that we proclaim, if this isn’t what we share then we are not playing on the same team, there are plenty of churches and individuals who claim to be part of the church who would not say that this of first importance but it is. This is the truth that unites us in Christ Jesus, yes there may be differences in how we worship, there are differences in our understanding of what the bible teaches, there are differences in what colour of carpet that we have and that has caused plenty of fall outs over the years, yet this is the truth that unites us, we proclaim the good news of the Gospel, of Christ Crucified risen and ascended.
Then in verse 41, to emphasise the point of what he has just said, Jesus tells his disciples, still sitting at his feet, “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”. Not only the man casting out demons but also one who offers something as simple as a cup of water to those who belong to Christ, they will not loose their reward because they are also serving the kingdom. We might often want the reward in the here and the now, we want earthly recognition but Jesus here is talking about the eternal reward.
Now in any congregation there are going to be those who are gifted in one area and not another, you might look at someone and thing why don’t I have a voice like that, why can’t I do that, it can be easy for us to become jealous, envious, yet we should rejoice that God has given that person that gift and ability, what ever we do in the service of the Lord even if it may seem as trivial as giving someone a cup of water we should know that eternally we will have our reward.
Q26 How doth Christ execute the office of a king?
Christ executeth the office of a king, in subduing us to himself, (Acts 15:14–16) in ruling, (Isa. 32:22) and defending us, (Isa. 32:1–2) and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies. (1 Cor. 15:25, Ps. 110)