We are still with Jesus and His disciples in the house in Capernaum. They came here after finishing their private trek through Galilee when Jesus was explaining His impending death and resurrection. Today we are going to look at the second thing that was noticed along the journey.
After being called on the carpet for arguing about who was the greatest among themselves, Peter brings up another issue from the trip. Peter tells Jesus that as they were walking they noticed people casting out demons in Jesus’ name. When the disciples noticed this going on they told the ones ministering in this fashion to stop because that minister wasn’t one of those following Jesus on His daily journey. In other words, they weren’t part of the “in crowd.”
Did Peter think Jesus hadn’t seen those people? Did the disciples think Jesus was oblivious to what was going on around Him? Jesus knew what was being taught and the miracles that accompanied the teachings. He chose to remain silent, just like He did about the argument.
The people who were casting out demons were not following Jesus from town to town but they were paying close attention whenever they went to see Him. They probably also watched His disciples teach and minister to the people. They listened to His teachings on healing and authority. They saw how He and His disciples lain hands on the sick. They heard His disciples call on His name when praying for someone’s healing. They may not have believed every word Jesus spoke, but they had seen enough to know that there was power and authority in His name.
I don’t know if they were drawing crowds of simply standing on the street corner and offering help to anyone who needed it. What they were doing was providing healing and release for some very needy people. I don’t believe they were charging a fee for their services, as I’m sure Jesus would have put a stop to that quick fast and in a hurry. But they were invoking Jesus’ name and authority for each of the miracles being performed. Were they modeling their prayers after those they had seen Jesus’ disciples using? Were they using a “formula” they observed Jesus and His disciples using? Or were they just “winging it” while trusting in the authority contained in Jesus name?
When Peter told Jesus that His disciples had stopped these people from ministering, Jesus didn’t react how Peter thought He would. Jesus said that they could continue to minister to people in His name instead of shutting them down right away. Jesus pointed out instead that anyone doing good works in His name were being helpful. They were also becoming part of His ever increasing flock. Those ministering in His name and seeing positive results wouldn’t be able to speak wrongly about Him again. They were now witnesses for Him instead of against Him. A win-win situation all the way around.
So why didn’t Jesus stop His disciples from rebuking those offering the help? Was it so He could share this message privately? Had His disciples given their rebuke privately? Did they take the same care as Jesus did when meeting out “discipline?” I know they at least figured it out within the early years of the church.
Lord Jesus, the hope You offered people was so amazing that others wanted to share that same type of deliverance. They clearly recognized that the authority came directly from You. They DID NOT buy into the Pharisees’ claim that You were a demon casting out demons. They wanted that same authority too and did the best they could with the understanding they had. Thank You for meeting them at their point of understanding and faith too. This furthered Your word and You plan. Thank You for using us at each point of our learning and not making us wait until we are “fully mature” before placing us in service. I wonder if these men became leaders in the church later on.