“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.

 

“The Good Portion” (1 Corinthians 13: 1 – 3, ESV) by Carley Evans


“If I have not love, I gain nothing.”

Paul is very clear in his letter to the Corinthian church. You may be able to speak in tongues with interpretation for the edification of others; you may be able to give all your possessions; you may be willing to sacrifice your body for the glory of the Lord — but, if you have no love in your heart, then you gain nothing.

Martha invites Jesus into her home. Her sister, Mary, sits at Jesus’ feet “and listens to His teaching.” (Luke 10: 39) Martha is busy with serving, distracted. She is also resentful that Mary is sitting while she is working. She asks the Lord to intervene, but He says, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10: 41 – 42)

The good portion is Christ Himself — not what we do for Him; but what He does for us.

The one who loves most is the one who is forgiven the most. Jesus says that those of us who are keenly aware of our need of His forgiveness are those who are the most grateful. David is a man after God’s own heart. Why? Because David is acutely aware of his need of God’s grace. As we are aware of how much God loves us, though we are undeserving, we are able to love others, though they may be undeserving.

We are to forgive as we are forgiven.

Peter asks Jesus, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus responds, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18: 21, 22)

Love keeps no record of wrongdoing. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” (1 Corinthians 13: 7 – 8)