Hello! I am going to compare two Bible passages that I came across and wanted to study further and apply to my life.
39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40 For the one who is not against us is for us. -Mark 9:39-40
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ -Matthew 7:21-23
My two thoughts:
- It seems possible for a person to use Jesus’ name and do works in his name, but somehow not genuinely being in and for Christ. The Matthew verse says that people will plead to God on the day of judgement, and advocate for themselves. When really it is Jesus who is supposed to advocate for us before the Father! These people will say that they did many mighty works in his name. Why does he say he never knew them? It might be possible to do good works or even to believe in Jesus for our own gain or for our own will. This becomes a “me” centered gospel, instead of a gospel centered on Christ. If I do good works in the name of Jesus, but think it is me doing the good works, I have mis-interpreted the scriptures. The fruit of my life is only a product of God’s grace working through me. His grace enabled me to repent and turn to Him and to believe in the powerful name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of my sins, the ways I was running in the opposite direction of God. After I die, I do not want to appear before Jesus and beg him to let me into Heaven based on all the good works I did. I want to appear before him and look into his tender eyes and hear him say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. I knew you then, and know you now. I enjoyed every moment spent together. When we went out into the world, we were on the same team. I know it was so hard at times, but it was also so, so, SO rewarding!”
5 I [Jesus] am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. -John 15:5
- In the Mark passage, I don’t think Jesus is saying that all who do miracles in his name are guaranteed to be acting in genuine faith. Because we just saw in the Matthew scripture that there are people who will do miracles in his name, but he never knew them. Here, Jesus seems to more so be making a point to his disciples that other people are partnering with him in his mission and that it is Okay! The disciples saw someone driving out a demon in Jesus’ name, and they told the man to stop! Jesus brings correction by telling them not to tell others to stop doing things in his name, basically like saying, “Hold on, they are on the same team as us!” The disciples sometimes saw other people as the “other,” and thus, as a threat to the work of their Teacher. (They did not see the full picture of the Kingdom of God yet, ’cause they were living the exact moment of the ushering in of his Kingdom! What a defining moment in time to be alive.) Jesus was broadening their view of the Kingdom, family, and community of God. The promised Holy Spirit was going to fall on ALL people (at Pentecost described in Acts chapter 2), Jew and Gentile. Therefore Jesus intentionally planted seeds in their hearts for that coming event and the hope and reality of his continued mission, after he ascended to be with the Father.
In my life I am tempted to and find myself claiming Jesus but not taking time to listen to Him, rest in Him, or read His Word. I get so busy, but still do things in His name, such as my ministry job, reaching out to people who are lonely, or supporting someone I sponsor out of my material resources. I do these things in Jesus’ name, without the prayer backing – meaning, without getting to know the Person and God behind the name and remembering that it is He who works through me.
Jesus, you are the center of my life. When I stray, you bring me back. Thank you so very much!
Verses for further reflection:
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. -Jesus, Matthew 11:29
20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. -Galatians 2:20
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. -Ephesians 2:10
10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. -Hebrews 4:10