You can’t stop what God is doing
Mark 9:38-50 – Warnings to those who obstruct the faith
38John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39But 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. 40Whoever is not against us is for us. 41For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.
42“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. 43If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. 45And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. 47And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, 48where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.
49“For everyone will be salted with fire. 50Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
For anyone who gives a drink of water in the name of Christ, does it in the very name of God. You don’t have to be part of a special club or in crowd to be part of the radical building of the kingdom of God, because you can’t stop God and you can’t put God in a box! God uses all kinds of people in all kinds of ways to stoop to us, to be with us, and change our lives for the better.
Sure those of us that come to church experience that life changing reality in the context of church and worship (or at least I hope you do), but the truth is, that God works beyond the church and beyond these walls and even beyond us to bring about the kingdom. John was just learning that truth that day with Jesus, and perhaps we are still learning that truth today as we are invited into the radical building of the kingdom of God as part of the Jesus movement that is so much bigger than us.
For John, his understanding of the kingdom was a stumbling block – so Jesus reminded him to let go of those things that kept him from seeing how big our God really can be. When we open our eyes to see the depth and breadth of what is possible with God – that God invites all kinds of people to the table, that God invites all kinds of people into the movement of Jesus, that God invites all to play in the kingdom --- well then we might be able to get a glimpse of how radical the Good News of the Kingdom of God really is.