But Is He with Us?Luke 9:46-50; Mark 9:38-41Theme: Christian tolerance.This week’s lessons remind us that there is both diversity and unity in the Body of Christ. LessonDiscipleship is personal, but it is not personalistic. It always involves our relationships to others who also profess to be disciples. But are they disciples? As I ask that question I am not referring to those many people in the church who are essentially like us – ethnically, denominationally, or in terms of our particular religious experience. We do not have trouble with these people, because affirming them is really just affirming ourselves. When I ask, “But are they disciples?” I am referring to people who claim to be disciples but who are different from us. I am asking: How should we regard them? What should our relationship to these disciples be?
This question came up during our Lord’s earthly ministry and occasioned another of his important sayings. The disciples had been arguing about who should be the greatest, and Jesus had replied by an object lesson. He had placed a child before them, saying, “…Whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all – he is the greatest” (Luke 9:48).
The disciples did not always understand what Jesus was saying when he spoke like this. But on this occasion John at least seemed to understand. He remembered an incident that had taken place not long before. He and the others had met a man who had been casting out demons in Jesus’ name. He was not part of their company, so John and the other disciples had commanded the man to stop. Since Jesus had spoken of welcoming and not offending a little child, John wondered if maybe he and the others had been guilty of doing this in the case of the independent disciple. He was not of their number. He did not seem to have been authorized by Jesus. But had they done right? John said, “Master, we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.” He was asking, “We did right, didn’t we?”
Jesus replied by a great statement concerning proper tolerance in religion: “Do not stop him, for whoever is not against you is for you” (Luke 9:49-50). He was telling them that the exorcist did not have to be among their limited number or in their particular association to be a disciple.
What was Jesus teaching the disciples about the family of God in Luke 9:46-50?
What does Dr. Boice want us to consider in this lesson?
Further StudyStudy the story of Jesus and Beelzebub in Matthew 12:22-30. What is the principal teaching of this passage?
ReflectionDo you remain aloof from believers outside your own fellowship group, or those who differ from you in some way? If so, why? Is it due to doctrinal differences, or is it merely because they are not part of your own particular group?