John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Loyalty … or fear? When the apostle John witnesses another exorcist driving out demons, he responds in a way that reveals both his love for Jesus and his flawed understanding of God.
His affection and allegiance to Jesus drive him to protect Jesus’ name so as to not have falsehoods attributed to his friend. His loyalty demonstrates his friendship.
Why John wanted this man to stop might have more to do with his human understanding of faith than our desire to protect Him whom we love. By qualifying, “because he was not following us” highlights an exclusivity which we all desire, but which is often more selfish than a selfless act of protection.
In a world quick to divide, Jesus teaches us to avoid condemning others who are participating in His work – purifying souls.
—Alan Ratermann is an English teacher and Director of Ignatian Service Programs at Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, Missouri.
Lord, help us recognize you in all holy people working to bring the Kingdom of God to Earth.
Please share the Good Word with your friends!