Devotion for November 26, 2023

“For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us.” (Mark 9:39b,40)

Each segment of this brief Bible passage could fill an entire novel. There are three parts:

  1. Jesus tells the disciples what kind of lengths he will go to for the redemption of humanity. They have no idea what he is talking about, and they do not have the courage to appear silly by asking.
  2. As they walk through Galilee, the disciples are intent on figuring out which one of them is the best. When Jesus questions them about it, they seem too embarrassed to respond.
  3. Somewhat ironically, the disciples actually notice someone driving out demons in Jesus’ name. Weirdly (or perhaps not), they stop that person because they are not one of the in-group of the twelve.

What do all three of these have in common? Ego.

Jesus gives the disciples the good news straight up, yet their egos hold them back from asking the next question, which would give them more clarity. What does this mean for us?

Despite Jesus’ description of selfless servanthood, they argue about replacement royalty for when Jesus dies.

In what should be a moment of rejoicing, the disciples would rather be right than helpful. Like Pharisees constantly nitpicking Jesus about the Sabbath or cleanliness laws, the disciples make the same mistake.

In each of these three issues, the core of the problem is a Garden of Eden one: Ego — wanting to be like God.

Fortunately, the patience and graciousness of Jesus help the disciples encounter the true mission of God’s transformation power in humanity and encapsulate it in the words he has already spoken. “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, take up their cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34).

Prayer

Lord, help me to leave “self” behind as I follow You. Let my words and actions glorify You in all things! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Stay encouraged!

Pastor Mike

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Pastor Bailey
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