A Wideness in God’s Mercy
“For he who is not against us is for us.” Mark 9:40
In such perilous times like these, one has to be on one side or the other. All who do not oppose Christ, really serve His purpose. Jesus had His share of enemies.
The Pharisees were against Him; they were narrow-minded and extremely prejudiced; they were unwilling to listen to His claims. They were constantly at odds with Jesus. The enemies of Jesus were the ones who barricaded themselves from the life of God. For a time, the disciples fell into this category.
Even though this man had enough in the power of Christ to minster to others, because he wasn’t one of the group of twelve the disciples, the disciples’ dignity was wounded, they had not “approved” of him, and wanted to silence him and shut him down from doing ministry. But Jesus rebuked them, and taught them a great lesson.
Jesus teaches His disciples that His work cannot be limited by opinions or organizations. We still make this mistake today. The message of Jesus cannot be controlled by a club, clique or organization. It is Spirit and it’s life. The Spirit’s way is like the wind blowing where it likes, resting on those, calling those, who it wills, to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, be it in the church, or market place.
In our sophisticated church culture, where often self-appointed experts arise, we will have to face the reality that one can be unlearned, theologically inaccurate, denominationally disassociated, and still be used by God.
In this case, the man was doing the work of Christ to the very best of his ability, the same work Christ had engaged in. In a very real way, by rebuking the enemy, he was siding with Christ and His cause. Jesus was willing to accept this man’s work as being proof of his allegiance to the kingdom of God.
There’s a wideness in God’s mercy with all of us. He’s patient and gracious with our slowness of heart and personal prejudice. He’s generous with His grace, even when we are not. How petty are the barriers and limitations we set up?
It’s the mark of true Christian insight to be able to recognize the work of God, to support it and thank God for it, to have camaraderie and companionship with those who share in the good work.
Pray for those serving God in a variety of ways around the world, in places and environments very different from your own.