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Bible Passage Mark 9

Jesus Commendations 5: The Unnamed Miracle Worker

  • Tony Raker
Date preached February 27, 2022

Jesus’ Commendations 5: The Unnamed Miracle Worker

This series reviews instances where Jesus commended either individuals or groups, clarifying circumstances, identifying the heart intent of all and the impact on us today.

  • Contextual/Comparison: God keeps His Word: God continually uses His Word. Mark 9 records some challenging experiences in the lives of the disciples. We may be surprised that these first disciples were often so unspiritual, needing to pray the prayer of Psalm 51:10; are we less surprised that we are so much like them? Their spirit was wrong – and so is ours sometimes:
  • In Mark 9:5-6 we have the CARELESS spirit.
  • In Mark 9:10 we have the BLIND spirit (compare 32).
  • In Mark 9:28-29 we have the POWERLESS spirit.
  • In Mark 9:33-34 we have the PROUD spirit.
  • In Mark 9:38 we have the SECTARIAN spirit.

These preview Mark 9:38-41, where our Lord revealed seven important truths:

  1. Advancement in God’s Kingdom comes by taking the lowest place (vv. 33-37). Notice that the Lord knew what was in the hearts of His people (Luke 9:47) so He asked the question in v. 33, which caused the disciples to feel ashamed (v. 34). He then set a little child in front of them and spoke to them of humility (compare Mt. 5:3; Lk. 4:11; James 4:6; 1 Pt. 5:5). If we are the Lord’s disciples, then there is one great lesson He would have us learn: Matthew 11:29-30. It is only when we take the lowly way, and seek to learn the lesson of true humility, that strife, unrest, passion and pride go out of our lives, and in their place we find rest for our souls.
  2. Even the best of us is in danger of speaking and acting carelessly and wrongly.
  3. 38 tells us, “‘Teacher,’ said John…” This is very striking. Had it been Peter or Judas we might not have been surprised; but it was John, the one who was perhaps nearest to Jesus, the disciple whom Jesus loved (John 13:23). It is very easy for any of us to fail the Lord badly, as Moses did, when he spoke out of turn (Ps. 106:33); as David did, although he was the man after God’s own heart (2 Sam. 11:27); or as Paul and Barnabas did when they disagreed (Acts 15:39). All this leads us to say three things. First: how patient the Lord is with His children! Second: we must be patient with one another (James 5:9). Third: when we are conscious of failure we must confess it to God (1 John 1:9), and we must confess our faults to one another (James 5:16).
  4. The Lord employs a great variety of workers in His service. In v. 38 the disciples noticed a man who “was not one of us.” We must recognize the fact that in the Lord’s work there are many different kinds of workers. This should not surprise us, especially when we read 1 Cor. 1:26-29, comparing 1 Cor. 12:4-18. Here we are specifically told that “there are different kinds of gifts”, “different kinds of service”, “different kinds of working”, and so on. We should thank God that all round the world today He has His witnesses, different in ethnicity and place – but they are all one through grace!

Mark 9:39: “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.

  • Grammatical Usage: mighty work” or in the Greek “dunamis” meaning “miraculous power”; “name” or “onoma” meaning, “authority”;
  • Literal Interpretation: But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him again because there is no one who, if he performs a miracle by my authority, will be able to readily speak evil about me.
  1. Rigid sectarianism is an abomination to the Lord. In v. 38 John said to the Lord, concerning this man driving out demons, “he was not one us”. But at once our Lord gave His commendation (v. 39). The disciples were concerned because this man, who evidently believed on the Lord and was working in His name (otherwise Jesus would not have commended him), was exercising a powerful ministry. They thought the, alone, were the elect; they were indignant that anyone not belonging to their little inner circle should be using the name of the Lord. How much of this hard, unloving spirit exists among Christians today! Many think their little group is right and all others are wrong! We need to stop criticizing, seek the Lord’s forgiveness, and actively draw near to other believers in Christ, whatever their label. We belong together with all who truly are the Lord’s (Galatians 3:28).
  2. Demon-possession is as real today as it was 2000 years ago. The man mentioned in v. 38 was driving out demons. The New Testament records many instances of demon-possession, and on a number of occasions our Lord exorcised demons, as in this very chapter (9:14-29). There is no question that much of our present day mental illness, and probably much of our physical illness also, is caused by satanic influence. The Devil is still the great enemy of mankind; we are apt to underestimate his power, and frequently we are misled because he does not reveal himself as “a roaring lion” (1 Pt. 5:8), but as “an angel of light” (2 Cor. 1:14; Eph. 6:12). Why, then, are we so powerless to exorcise evil spirits and to free those who have been brought into bondage by the enemy? (Mark 9:28-29).
  3. Our God is still the God of miracles. V. 38 tells us of a man performing a miracle, and in v. 39 Jesus confirmed the fact. The man was only the instrument, for God was doing the work through him. But all this leads us to ask: do miracles still happen today? Yes, of course they do! Quite apart from the fact that we have seen miracles, we have in God’s Word many wonderful prayer-promises, a great number of them in the words of the Lord Jesus, which urge us to pray for and to expect miracles (Mt. 17:20; Mark 9:23).
  4. All service in the name of Christ is seen by Him and will be rewarded. This surely means that we should do everything in His Name, even common, everyday tasks of life (Col. 3:17; 1 Cor. 10:31).
  • Conclusion: What are you doing in the name of the Lord?