11.02.06 Mk. 9:38-41 (See also Lk. 9:49-50)
WORKS DONE IN THE NAME OF JESUS
38 John said to Him, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in Your name, and we tried to stop him because he wasn’t following us.”
39 “Don’t stop him,” said Jesus, “because there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name who can soon afterward speak evil of Me. 40 For whoever is not against us is for us. 41 And whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of My name, since you belong to the Messiah – I assure you: He will never lose his reward.
“No one who will perform a miracle in My name.” A miracle can be understood only in light of the message that accompanies it. A miracle can originate from God through Jesus only by the message that is spoken by the one praying for the miracle. The pagan priests in Pharaoh’s court performed miracles when they threw their rod to the ground and it became a snake. These miracles were not of God, but of Satan. To determine if a miracle is of God or Satan the accompanying message must be discerned. The message authenticates the miracles and the miracles authenticate the message of the Almighty God, but the message generally comes before the miracle (Acts 2:22).
Anyone who performs a miracle in the name of Jesus and then speaks evil of Him or against His teachings is one who does a false miracle. The word “false” is defined as a miracle that has the appearance of being from God, when in fact, it is from satanic power. If any miracle was truly of Jesus, then the messenger through whom Jesus performed the miracle will also preach the truth of Scripture. Hence, the warning is obvious: be aware of those who perform miracles but do not preach the full truth of the gospel.
The phrase “perform a miracle” literally reads a work of power. There are three primary words in the New Testament that have been translated to miracle.
- The word dunameis (meaning mighty works, powers or acts of power)
- The word semeia that is translated as signs – especially by John, and
- Terata meaning wonders.
All three terms were used by the gospel writers for their audiences with the understanding that belief in God (according to the biblical definition of “belief”) as the source of all power. For that reason, Jesus is the dunamis of God. Throughout the New Testament, the mighty works of Jesus are denoted by five different words that reflect different situations and viewpoints of the writers. A miracle may be as follows:
- An act of extraordinary wonders as in Acts 7:36 as well as the incredible wonders performed by Moses in Egypt.
- A sign pointing to something beyond itself such as a mark of grace or power by the miracle worker that reveals his connection with God; as in Matthew 7:38.
- As a demonstration of the glory of God as recorded in Luke 13:17.
- As a strange or wonderful event that makes people ponder. See Luke 5:26 and Matthew 21:15.
- A demonstration of divine power as in Matthew 11:20
On the other hand, disbelief in miracles performed by Jesus is a disbelief in God as described in the Bible and that was the problem in Nazareth, and even more so in the villages of Capernaum, Bethsaida, and Chorizim.
. Richardson, “Miracle, Wonder, Sign, Powers.” 152-54.
. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament. 1:66.