“John said to Jesus, “Master, we saw someone using Your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he isn’t in our group. But Jesus said, “Don’t stop him! Anyone who is not against you is for you.”
Church unity is at the heart of the New Testament writings. God’s word often encourages us to throw away our indifferences and disagreements for the sake of peace and unity among the church. We might have different opinions or interpretations of God’s word but ultimately we are the same family. Our families purpose is to usher in our Father’s presence, peace, love and salvation to all people.
In today’s passage, the apostle John, also seemed to struggle with the issue of divided unity. John and the other disciples saw someone casting out demons in Jesus’ Name, yet because they weren’t part of the ‘group’ he stopped them. Don’t we often do this in our churches today? Because you haven’t done this, taken this course, studied at this Bible school, you can’t serve in this or that ministry. Rather than encourage people’s gifting, we tend to quench them and put procedure in place of purpose. Yet Jesus’ words are the same today as they were to John, ‘anyone who is not against you is for you’. This is not to say that we shouldn’t be wise in electing leadership, and allowing people to serve in ministry. But rather it is an attitude of acceptance and openness to others who might be different from us. If we are the same family then we shouldn’t quench the fire inside each other. Instead nurture and encourage one other, so that Jesus may get the glory through our diversity.