‘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
This is another of those passages that has confused me, and made me stop to think more than once I hasten to add.
In today’s language it looks like this. Someone who is not a Christian (by our thinking), does some good and in Jesus’ name. It could even be a miraculous sign as in this case, but it would certainly be a surprise, and a shock to some of today’s church ‘elite’ (Just like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day). Looking beyond the good that’s done, we focus right in on the thought that this is just not right. How can a ‘bad person’ do good? And even worse if they use the name of Jesus in the process? We don’t like that so we pull up verses that support our thinking, and they are not hard to find.
We seem to be able to accept that bad things can happen to good people, but not so good at accepting if any good work is done by one of our self confessed ‘false teachers/prophets’. Since we have already consigned them to the dustbin of hell, surely Jesus can’t be using them, so their good works can only come from one other source. Hell itself. Jesus knows our every thought, so what could He mean when He said, “whoever is not against us is for us”?
Is it possible that God will use who He wants to use for His good, no matter who he or she is, and no matter our own conviction and judgement that they are not in the right church camp?