Competition is one of my signature strengths. I don’t like losing or being wrong. By God’s grace I am mellowing with age. So, I can somewhat identify with John when he and his buddies were bothered that someone they didn’t know was taking on demons in the power of Jesus’ name yet wasn’t part of their signature team. I’m sure he felt that that it was completely inappropriate for one who was not spending time at the feet of the Master to minister as a supposed follower. But John and his fellow disciples were misguided in their thinking.
Exodus 17:6—“I am going to stand there in front of you on the rock at Horeb; when you hit the rock, water will come out of it and the people will drink.” Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel.
General Vladimir Sukhomlinov was the Russian Minister of War from 1909-1915. He was a cavalry officer and a war hero during Russia’s war with Turkey in the 1870s. Unfortunately, Sukhomlinov decided that he knew everything that there was to know about warfare. His decorations, record and position bolstered his self-importance despite the fact that Russia lost territory and huge numbers of dead and wounded to the Japanese from 1904-1905.
Wolfgang Simson was scheduled to speak to church leaders in Cairo, Egypt at 5:45 P.M. His contact arranged for a taxi 45 minutes ahead of schedule and gave the cabbie the address. Thirty minutes later they arrived but it was not the right place. The only Arabic Simson could speak were the words for left, right, straight ahead and counting from one to ten. The German knew he was in trouble and quickly prayed for help. God answered immediately telling him to prophesy to the taxi driver. Simson protested, “Lord, I-I’m Lutheran and I don’t even know which direction it is.”
There are those who scoff at the reality of demons. The whole notion of religion or the existence of God seems like relics of an antiquated belief system. Tell that to the four men who on September 20, 2011 stood around Vlad and prayed for him, watching as he writhed on the ground as one and then another demon left him. Two days later Vlad called Dad and said he was again under attack. So the two met near my parent’s home and walked together up a nearby mountain.
John 5:15—The man went and reported to the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.
Never underestimate the need for approval. A man is sick for 38 years. Jesus sees him and knows his situation. He asks him if he would like to get well. Instead of answering “Yes!,” the man shares a pool of woes. You can read about it in John 5:1-7.
1 Samuel 6:7-9--Now then, prepare one new cart and two milk cows that have never been yoked. Hitch the cows to the cart, but take their calves away and pen them up. Take the ark of the Lord, place it on the cart, and put the gold objects that you’re sending Him as a restitution offering in a box beside the ark. Send it off and let it go its way. Then watch: If it goes up the road to its homeland toward Beth-shemesh, it is the Lord who has made this terrible trouble for us. However, if it doesn’t, we will know that it was not His hand that punished us—it was just something that happened to us by chance.”
I’ve read the passage in Mark countless times and I have to admit, I’ve always glossed over his action as both understandable and “no big deal.” In truth, I’m like him—I can think of times when God has brought His word to mind and I liked my idea better. I’m reminded again of how important obedience is. What God says I need to do. “Then a man with a serious skin disease came to Him and, on his knees, begged Him: ‘If You are willing, You can make me clean’” (Mark 1:40). Jesus was filled with compassion and touched the leper—healing him. Then He did a curious thing. He strongly warned the man not to tell anyone but to go and show himself to a priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded regarding cleansing. Jesus told him this would be a testimony to them (the priests and fellow Jews).
Hebrews 2:1-4--We must, therefore, pay even more attention to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away. For if the message spoken through angels was legally binding and every transgression and disobedience received a just punishment, how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was first spoken by the Lord and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him. At the same time, God also testified by signs and wonders, various miracles, and distributions of gifts from the Holy Spirit according to His will.