Updated: Feb 9
38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40 Whoever is not against us is for us. 41 For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.
Note: This is extracted from a larger reading that incorporates Mark 9:38-50, which is the Gospel selection in Episcopal churches on Proper 21-B, which in the year 2021 will mark the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost. The typical sermon preached on that Sunday will focus on how salt can lose its saltiness [from verse 50]. These verse often get lost in the mix, since there are no people running around these days casting out demon and healing people in the name of Jesus.
Imagine John of Zebedee going up to Jesus, knowing that he and his brother James of Zebedee were called "Sons of Thunder" (the meaning of "Boanerges," as stated in Mark 3:17), seeing them as being quick-tempered, large, burly Jews. They would then be seen as ready, rearing, and able to thump someone, anyone, caught soiling the good name of Jesus (of Nazareth).
Imagine someone not registered in the Jesus school of disciples doing that!
The nerve of him! Send in the goons!
Hold on a second! Tell me where it says the man was a charlatan.
I don't see it. I see it say they "saw someone casting out demons in your name."
That says the only problem the brothers had was that the man doing these deeds wasn't a recognized follower of Jesus. Casting out demons was okay. It is always good to cast out demons …
Just stop using Jesus' name when doing it.
Here, it is important to realize the timing.
Mark's ninth chapter begins with the Transfiguration, which means Jesus had entered the third year of his official ministry. While his travels north, beyond Galilee, were due to Jesus knowing there was a plot to kill him, to which point he told his disciples a second time about that coming fate shortly before this event took place, that timing says this:
Jesus had already sent out the Twelve to heal and cast out demons. While his sending out seventy-two was still ahead, James and John of Zebedee had already done their internship [Mark 6].
There was nothing written then that said Jesus told them to use his name when they went out.
Simply by someone who was not a follower of Jesus casting out demons (successfully) and using Jesus' name [one imagines said person saying, "In the name of Jesus come out!"], it is confusing to read that Jesus said, "Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me."
That seems to say that someone casting out demons in the name of Jesus would then speak evil of Jesus; but that is not the case.
What Jesus said was twofold. First, if someone were to be going around attempting to cast out demons in the name of Jesus AND was unsuccessful, then the people needing someone to cast out demons would speak evil of the one using Jesus' name, not Jesus. Still, there were none doing that.
That means, second, whoever cast out demons using Jesus' name were successful, so only praise would come to the person casting out a demon AND that person would give all credit to Jesus.
Certainly, God is the one who would actually be casting out demons, knowing the one who was using the name Jesus had been healed by God, via Jesus. That relationship of someone casting out demons in the name of Jesus and God would be the "power in my name" that God would hear, guaranteeing a successful exorcist.
Further, that person casting out demons in the name of Jesus would have been touched by Jesus previously, feeling the power enter his being [or maybe her being too], and know from the Holy spirit's presence to go into ministry of his [or her] own, helping others as he [or she] had been helped.
This is realized when Jesus said, "Whoever is not against us is for us."
That is an either/or statement of duality. It is not even similar to "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."
One who uses the name of Jesus is in the Christ Mind, reborn as a Son of God. Those who are not what would be termed "Apostles" are then Jews and Gentiles, with many of those being enemies of Jesus.
The Book of Acts tells of people doing similar things in the name of Apostles and Jesus, when they were not as successful.
Now that it is income tax time, I find that the mindset of John of Zebedee leads the Internal Revenue Service. My wife, who was an official priest of an official church, was allowed a housing allowance (basically) because she was a priest [retired disabled, with terminal cancer]. When she died, her priestly housing allowance died with her.
I did not write the above commentary because of income tax people [and accountants who know that stuff]. I wrote it because I have been doing the work of a priest ordained by God Almighty [without claiming that status] since 2001. My wife and I met because God brought us together with a purpose, which was ministry to Him. Between 2004 and 2010, my wife was not an official priest. In 2010 she entered seminary and gave up great financial security to become a priest; and, in 2013 she was rewarded by ordination by a church organization. She officially became a priest with a housing allowance at that time.
In essence, between 2005 [after Hurricane Katrina changed a lot of lives] and 2010 my wife was a church. As a church, she employed me as a priest, in the sense that she paid be a stipend every month, so I could do priestly work in her presence. We began Katrina Pearls as a partnership that was mostly my ministry, but she financed it and assisted me greatly in that partnership. For as much as that arrangement could be argued, it was not a legally stated arrangement between an official church and an ordained by a business priest.
Call it play church, if you want.
The point that I write now, here in this article, is to state the reason why I wrote the above commentary. There are many, many, many people parading around with robes and collars who have an official title that is recognized by an agency of the federal government; but that does not make any of them priests of God - YHWH - the Only true God. Thus, the reports of priests not being enrolled in the 'Jesus School of Theology and Ritual', who go around casting out demons and healing people in Jesus name, are not commonly heard these days.
As a lark, I Googled "who gives free ordinations to be a priest?" and several sites were returned. The biggest, perhaps, is the Universal Life Church, which (according to the reviews and testimonials) sells a piece of paper to hang on the wall (with a wallet card too) that says one is ordained as a priest of a religion. They supposedly coach people in what to do to declare a new church. They advertise famous people having conducted "legal" wedding ceremonies because they were ordained by that so-called "church."
People, the reason they did that (I think they began in the 60's) is to be an insult to Christianity, because Christianity over the past few hundred years has done so many evil things "in the name of Jesus Christ" that Christianity is now in its waning days, suffering from 'death pangs'. The Universal Life Church has pictures of Steven Colbert, Conan O'Brien, Paul McCartney, and Richard Branson as some of the celebrities who are 'ordained ministers' [priests]. The fact that none of them can claim a housing allowance on their income tax returns [the I.R.S. rejects the ULC as a real church] says John of Zebedee told them to strongarm those who were faking casting out demons and healing in the name of priesthood [I presume they marry gays; but then so do official churches these days].
When my wife and I first began talking, I was working a menial job, but only to earn enough money to pay off debts I had incurred and save to pay a print-on-demand company to publish my first book. I lived meagerly; so, I told her I had taken a vow of poverty, knowing I would never become wealthy writing about Nostradamus as a Saint. I had lost so much at that time, having turned my back on climbing some invisible ladder to wealth and riches, that I also was saving to pay an attorney to file bankruptcy papers in my name. After I moved to be close to my wife (before we were married), what little I had been able to retain from my past life was literally destroyed by the flood waters of Hurricane Katrina. I laughed when I saw those losses, because it dawned on me then that there is nothing of the material world that can become a distraction to a true ministry to God.
That was why I used the name Katrina Pearls. After total destruction of the outer (the material) is when the inner (the spiritual) becomes the true value - the pearl that is God's servant. God does not reward His priests with worldly riches, because the reward of truly being a priest ordained by God is found in heaven. So, all the fancy robes, all the fancy hats, and all the fancy crooks, which bring with them all the fancy I.R.S. deductions are payments for serving a material organization, more than truly serving God. God does not give one of His priests more credit for having stayed sober enough in a college setting to win a sheepskin that says, "Official Graduate" and were then ordained by a company as wayward as is the Universal Life Church. God does not reward His priests with housing allowance, because houses can get destroyed by hurricanes. God does not sell insurance that guarantees life will be easy.
In fact, the world becomes a reflection of John of Zebedee, as it sees someone like me, who writes interpretations of Scripture without a degree from some university or a certificate of authenticity from an organization on the I.R.S. list of approved church groups. The world wants to beat me up for writing things without having gone to a Jesus Christ school. The world wants to reject me because I do not wear a robe with a company brand on the lapel.
To cast out wisdom in the name of Jesus Christ does not mean to say, "I believe if Jesus Christ were here today, he would approve of what I write, even though I am an untrained mind!" There are plenty priests, ministers, and pastors who proclaim their words are for that reason - belief in Jesus Christ. I do not simply believe in Jesus Christ. I am Jesus reborn, led by the Christ Mind.
When Jesus told John, "Whoever is not against us is for us," he spoke in my favor. I am for Christianity. At that time, John and all the other followers of Jesus were disciples - students learning how Jesus ministered; but they were not then reborn as true Christians. The man John reported seeing had been! He was truly "in the name of Jesus Christ" through rebirth.
When Jesus said to John, "For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward" the reality of what Jesus said is this: "Whoever might give you a cup of water to drink , in the name because of Christ exists , that means he shall not lose that reward." That says Jesus supported my efforts as everything I offer here (and all place prior and still to come) represents cups of water that should fill one's thirst for spiritual insight. Offering words of wisdom that come from God is the same thing as casting out evil demons that drive one to seek a cure.
The reward is not like one pays to go see a doctor. Doctors go to universities and pay for knowledge, which they then sell for profit. Anyone who uses the same model to sell religion likewise will reap the benefits of worldly profits: fancy clothes, housing allowances, people willing to drop cash in the basket. Because I see no rewards from doing this does not mean I am losing my reward. It is just like looking at stuff destroyed by flood waters. Paychecks, deductions, and a little profit on the side is nothing more than here today, gone tomorrow. The rewards for what I do are not guaranteed [the conditional form of "Whoever might give"], so I need to keep my pea brain away from thinking about such things. I do the Lord's work diligently and the Lord will pay me in return tenfold. Until then, I just do what He says do.
So, have a hearty laugh; and, by all means, drink up brother and sister!