But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)A miracle.—Better, a mighty work, or work of power.
Lightly.—Literally, quickly. The words are wide-reaching in their range. The true disciples of Christ are to hinder no one who is really doing His work. The very fact that they do it will bring with it reverence and sympathy. They will not quickly be found among those who speak evil of the Son of Man. So of old Moses answered the prayer of Joshua that he would forbid Eldad and Medad to prophesy in the camp, “Would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets” (Numbers 11:29). So St. Paul rejoiced that every way Christ was preached (Philippians 1:18). So too often have churches and their teachers not acted when men were doing the work of Christ, combating evil, relieving wants, in ways more or less irregular, or with faith more or less imperfect. In all such cases we need to remember the words “Forbid him not . . . he that is not against us is on our side.”
Can lightly speak evil of me - The word here rendered "lightly" means quickly or "immediately." The meaning of the passage is, that he to whom God gave the power of working a miracle, by that gave evidence that he could not be found among the enemies of Jesus. He ought not, therefore, to be prevented from doing it. There is no reason to think here that John had any improper designs in opposing the man. He thought that it was evidence that he could not be right, because he did not join them and follow the Saviour. Our Lord taught him differently. He opposed no one who gave evidence that he loved him. Wherever he might be or whatever his work, yet, if he did it in the name of Jesus and with the approbation of God, it was evidence sufficient that he was right. Christians should rejoice in good done by their brethren of any denomination. There are men calling themselves Christians who seem to look with doubt and suspicion on all that is done by those who do not walk with them. They undervalue their labors, and attempt to lessen the evidences of their success and to diminish their influence. True likeness to the Saviour would lead us to rejoice in all the good accomplished. by whomsoever it may be done - to rejoice that the kingdom of Christ is advanced, whether by a Presbyterian, an Episcopalian, a Baptist, or a Methodist. Compare Philippians 1:18.See Poole on "Mark 9:38"
for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name; or "miracles", as the Syriac version, as to cast out devils, or heal any sickness and disease,
that can lightly speak evil of me: such a man can never reproach and blaspheme that name, which he makes use of in doing, and by which he does wonderful works; no man can call Jesus accursed, who casts out devils in his name; see 1 Corinthians 12:3, if he has spoken evil of him before, he cannot do it "again", as the Persic version renders it, with any face; or he cannot do it "quickly, immediately", as the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions interpret it: there must be some time before such an one apostatizes, if he ever does; he cannot very easily and readily go into a way of blaspheming that name, by which he does his mighty works: his conscience will not admit of it; and besides, it would be contrary to his interest; it must sink his credit, and he lose the esteem and applause of men, he had gained by his miracles; for to dishonour that name, would be to reproach himself.But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Mark 9:39. Jesus disallows the interdict for a reason that goes deeper than the purely external one of the disciples = not of our company? well, but with us at heart.—δυνήσεται ταχὺ: points to moral impossibility: use of Christ’s name in exorcism incompatible with hostile or inappreciative thought and speech of Him.—ταχὺ softens the assertion: not soon; he may do it, but it will mean a change of mind, and disuse of my name.39. Forbid him not] Compare the words of Joshua and the reply of Moses in Numbers 11:28-29; “and Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses … answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them. And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? Would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them.”Mark 9:39. Μὴ κωλύετε, forbid him not) Let them give heed to these words, who tie down spiritual gifts to a canonical succession. Forbid not, if there should meet you again either that same person, or another like him.—ταχὺ, hastily) For the soul is secured against doing so by the sense of [His] miraculous power. [After the lapse of some interval of time, it may be possible to happen.—V. g.]Verse 39. - But Jesus said, Forbid him not. It is as though our Lord said, "Do not forbid him; do not hinder him from a good work - a work which does honor to me and to my cause; because, although he does not actually follow me as you do, he is nevertheless engaged in the same cause; he is celebrating my Name by the casting out of evil spirits. Therefore he is not opposing my Name; on the contrary, he is publishing and recommending it." Here is a warning against that exclusive spirit, which is eager for its own ends rather than for Christ's glory, and would limit the exercise of his gifts and graces to its own system or school, instead of inquiring whether those whom it condemns are not working in Christ's name and for the promotion of his glory, although it may be allowable to think that in some instances they might find a more excellent way.
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