“Not Against Us?” ( Mark 9: 34-40, WYC ) by Carley Evans

34 And they were still; for they disputed among them[selves] in the way, who of them should be [the] greatest.

35 And he sat, and called the twelve, and said to them [and saith to them], If any man will be the first among you, he shall be the last of all, and the minister of all [and minister, or servant, of all].

36 And he took a child, and set him in the middle of them [in the midst of them]; and when he had embraced him, he said to them,

37 Whoever receiveth one of such children in my name [Whoever shall receive one of such children in my name], he receiveth me; and whoever receiveth me, he receiveth not me alone, but him that sent me.

38 John answered to him, and said [saying], Master, we saw one casting out fiends in thy name, which followeth not us, and we have forbidden him.

39 And Jesus said, Do not ye forbid him; for there is no man that doeth a work of power in my name [that doeth virtue in my name], and may soon speak evil of me.

40 [Forsooth] He that is not against us, is for us.

Can’t you see the twelve bickering among themselves over who is the greatest? Each one desiring to be closest to Jesus, desiring to be most admired by Him – can’t you imagine? Can’t you see them trying to stop an outsider from casting out demons in Jesus’ Name because “he is not one of us!”

Sometimes, we want an exclusive relationship with the Lord – no one else is allowed, especially outsiders. And often we forget Jesus embraces the child – the one who is innocent, unprotected, vulnerable, dependent. Instead we admire the powerful, the shrewd, the well-protected, the independent.

Jesus calls us to embrace children. As we act like Him and accept and receive the children in His Name, we find we also accept and receive Jesus and therefore accept and receive God, the Father. As we set aside our ambitions and seek to serve others, we find we are first. And we do not notice.