Then His disciples began arguing about which of them was the greatest. But Jesus knew their thoughts, so He brought a little child to His side. Then He said to them, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on My behalf welcomes Me, and anyone who welcomes Me also welcomes My Father who sent Me. Whoever is the least among you is the greatest.” John said to Jesus, “Master, we saw someone using Your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he isn’t in our group.” But Jesus said, “Don’t stop him! Anyone who is not against you is for you.”Luke 9:46-50
Picking up from the previous Gem where I ran out of time and space we see that in John’s statement he says “. . . We stopped (lit. forbade) him because he does not follow with us.” The inference is he does not follow You with us. That is he was not a follower or disciple of Jesus. It seems that John and the others were concerned about this man not being a part of the Disciples’ Union. “He has no right to use Your Name Lord because his not a card carrying disciple. He hasn’t been through Discipleship 101 yet. He is not one of us. He doesn’t belong to our group.” As John is presenting his case he is using the royal “we”. We inclusive. I am speaking for the group of which I am a part. He isn’t with us. With us! He doesn’t say “not with You Lord”, but not with us. Have you got your priorities a little skewed here John? Who’s mission is this?
Jesus responds to the group and tells them you (plural) are not to stop him, because whoever is not against you (plural) is for you (plural). The sense is inclusivity for the disciples but it is also exclusivity for the man. Don’t forbid him and anyone like him in future. Be open armed / handed about it. Think in can do ways. In what ways can we, rather than inventing ways and rules to keep people out. Our God is a whosoever God. Surely anyone opposing demons is on OUR side. If he opposes demons then give him free reign to wage war against the enemy of your souls. “You gotta serve somebody” as Bob Dylan sang. It maybe the devil or it maybe the Lord but either way you’ve got to serve somebody. Anyone who is against the devil is on your side.
Anyone who is not against us is for us.Mark 9:40
Anyone who isn’t with Me opposes Me, and anyone who isn’t working with Me is actually working against Me.Matthew 12:30, Luke 11:23
When you look further afield it gets even more confusing. Mark has “us” and not “you” and Matthew and even Luke himself record the complete opposite in another passage, 12:30 and 11:23 as above.
How are we supposed to make sense of this? So I have decided to give you some time to look into it for yourself. This one is a good challenge because it confuses a lot of people and it seems so contradictory. See if you can solve what is going on here across the different gospels with each of these passages but especially with the one we are dealing with, namely Luke 9:46-50. I figure I have broken the back of the Luke 9 passage for you. It just depends whether you have the time or the inclination to check into the rest. You know how, if you have been following Bible Gems for a while. If you don’t have time or the inclination just wait for the “answer” in the following Gem. Well my answer any way. I am sure there are more takes on this one than just mine. What about your explanation / solution? Share it with me.
Assume that everyone likes you. You’ll relax and be easier to live with. In time, the assumption will prove true.Max Lucado
A lie doesn’t become truth, wrong doesn’t become right & evil doesn’t become good, just because it’s accepted by a majority.Rick Warren
The challenge of people who’ve been with you a long time is that they still think you’re who you were.Paul Scanlon
Being a team player is not about doing the job of others; it’s about doing YOUR job for the benefit of OTHERS!Rick Godwin