An argument arose between the disciples as to who was the greatest, Luke 9:46. Jesus not only heard the argument, He knew what they were thinking, Luke 9:47. Does it scare or concern you that Jesus knows your innermost thoughts. He knows what is behind the words we say and the way we act.
So, what did Jesus mean by placing a child next to him and saying what he did in verse 48? Jesus wanted to overturn all their ideas about greatness. He wanted the disciples to be not self centered and exclusive, but welcoming. What about you? How welcoming are you of others?
The disciples didn’t get it, as shown by their next words. John’s words reveal this attitude of exclusivity in that they tried to hinder another who was casting out demons in Jesus’ name because he did not belong to their little enclave, verse 49. Jesus explained there are only two positions – those who follow him and those who don’t, verse 50.
Today there are many denominations and many churches doing God’s work. How do you respond to those from other churches or denominations? Do you accept them as fellow partners in the gospel ministry and pray for them? Or do you only pray for those within your own exclusive church circle?
If you are having difficulty with this, why not join an interdenominational bible study group like BSF, Bible Study Fellowship International or some other group of Christians from various churches keen to promote the gospel, like CWCI (Christian Women Communicating International.) Over the years I have been involved in several such groups: BSF, CWCI,KYB, Explorers and more recently, studies I wrote myself for an interdenominational group which included ladies from Assemblies of God, Baptist, Church of Christ and Evangelical churches. It worked well, because we all concentrated not on the differences between our denominations but on what we had in common – a love for Jesus and a commitment to reading and studying God’s Word and letting Him speak to us through it. We were also committed to praying for each other throughout the week.
Recently, a great lady and teacher of God’s Word died. Born in England in 1922, Jean Raddon came to Australia and was involved in CWCI. She also became involved in BSF and then, in 1972, she wrote the first of the Know Your Bible studies. The concept quickly took off, so by 1977 some 7000 women were studying the Bible through this method. Now there are over 2000 Know Your Bible groups in Australia catering for women of all ages, denominations and from all walks of life.
While it’s good to be involved in bible studies in our own churches, and we should be encouraged to do so, it’s also beneficial to meet and mix with Christians from other denominations. Why not look around your area? There’s sure to be an interdenominational bible study that would welcome you.
Exclusivity had no part in the thinking of Jesus.It shouldn’t in ours either.
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