38John said to him, “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.”
Will the real Christian please stand up!
During the Protestant Reformation of the 15th and 16th centuries, there was a lot of controversy over who was a “real Christian.” For the Catholic Church, it remained clear – you had to remain loyal to the Pope and the teaching of the Church. For Protestants, there were a number of new church expressions – and some included all who proclaim Christ as Lord, while others had specifics that you had to believe in order to be “included.”
We seem to have a similar situation today. Can you be a Christian and vote for (fill in the blank)? Can you be a Christian and believe (again, fill in the blank)? All of this depends on who you ask.
And this is one instance that Jesus encounters – and refutes. In fact, Jesus also said “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd… (John 10:16-17).
And yet, even though Jesus preaches a message of inclusivity, we continue to put up barriers to His grace – and often based upon our own beliefs.
Maybe we should pay attention to Jesus and what He says.