38 “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.” 39 “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, 40 for whoever is not against us is for us. 41 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.
This passage is interesting when contrasted with Acts 19:15. In this instance in the gospel of Mark, Jesus is clearly not against people using his name to cast out demons, but in Acts, the “seven sons of Sceva”, a Jewish chief priest were stripped naked by a demon-possessed man and beaten until they were bleeding!
I wonder if the message that Christ was trying to convey was that we need to allow people to express what faith they have in Christ, because it is only through the expression of faith in Jesus (however misguided) that faith is able to grow. The passage in Acts 19 is an example of how a misguided faith can have very dangerous consequences, but nonetheless, it is not worth stopping people from expressing a misguided faith because:
1) It is likely that they will not be able to be stopped anyway
2) The benefits of an expressing a faith in Jesus will always outweigh the risks when you take an eternity-sized view
Lord, help me to be bold enough to express my faith even when I don’t necessarily have the theology to understand it, and please help me to know when to release people in their faith rather than constraining them.
Written by Ps. Justin Ware