Luke 9:49

ESV John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.”
NIV Master,' said John, 'we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.'
NASB John answered and said, 'Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to prevent him, because he does not follow along with us.'
CSB John responded, "Master, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him because he does not follow us."
NLT John said to Jesus, 'Master, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he isn’t in our group.'
KJV And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us.

What does Luke 9:49 mean?

Since affirming that Jesus is the Messiah (Luke 9:18–20), witnessing God's glory and affirmation of Jesus (Luke 9:28–36), and watching the crowds react to His power with amazement (Luke 9:43), the disciples have gotten power-hungry. They can't understand why Jesus keeps talking about being betrayed and killed (Luke 9:44–45; Mark 9:30–32). They'd rather argue over what positions they'll have when Jesus comes into His kingdom (Luke 9:46–48).

Jesus has used the example of a child: symbolically and literally the person with the least amount of power and status. He said that those who receive a child receive Him. They will only be great if they humble themselves and accept the powerlessness of a child in the eyes of the world (Luke 9:48). In fact, they need to be willing to give up their very lives (Luke 9:23–26).

Now, they see a man who is not part of the larger group of disciples rescuing people from demon possession. This is something Jesus empowered them to do; they'd experienced success in it (Luke 9:1–6, 10). Recently, however, they found themselves unable to cast out a single demon from a long-tortured boy (Luke 9:38–40). Their failure led Jesus to label them "faithless and twisted," like the rebellious children of Israel (Luke 9:41; Deuteronomy 32:5).

The disciples are apparently still thinking about worldly power and authority. They don't seem to care if people are being healed from demonic possession. They seem to want to protect their "brand:" their sense of prestige and identification with godly power. Their hearts seem to say, who cares if he's helping people; he's not going through proper channels.

This passage shows the wideness of God's kingdom. We can't judge someone just because they're outside of our church, denomination, or ministry.

This man stands in contrast with the sons of Sceva. When Paul saw success teaching, healing, and casting out demons in Ephesus, seven sons of a Jewish high priest tried the same. They attempted to expel demons by saying, "I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims" (Acts 19:13). The evil spirit they confronted responded, "Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?" (Acts 19:15). The demon then proceeded to beat the men, who ran out of the house injured and naked.

The underlying theme of both stories is motives. The sons of Sceva were itinerant Jewish magicians who thought they had found a new money-making power. The disciples didn't want to share the glory of their position in God's kingdom. Before we confront anyone we see as a threat to God's truth, the first thing we should do is consider whether we're acting out of pride and jealousy.
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