Sermon Summary and Discussion Questions | "Mistaken Zeal"


Introduction: Context of the Conversation

1. Disciples’ Perspective

2. Savior’s Perspective



Introduction: Context of the Conversation

Verses 38-41 are part of a conversation between Jesus and his disciples that began in verse 30-37. There, Jesus inserts himself into the discussion of the disciples who are arguing about who is the greatest amongst them. In response, Jesus redefines greatness in the Kingdom of God. True greatness comes dressed in service, not in status or significance based on the world’s standards.

1. Disciples’ Perspective (v38)

In verse 38 we see the disciples’ attempt to hinder and prevent a man casting out demons in Jesus’ name. The reason they tried to stop this man was because he was not following us. In this instance we see yet again an “echo of their inflated self-importance” (cf. Edwards).

2. Savior’s Perspective (vv39-41)

Again in great patience, Jesus responds to the disciples in verses 39-41. The Savior opposes the disciples’ exclusivism and inflated self-importance. Ministry is not the prerogative of the few, but is the privilege of all who follow Christ in his mission. By doing mighty works in the name of Jesus, the man who was practicing exorcisms was not in opposition to Jesus and his ministry, but clearly demonstrated an understanding of the arrival of God’s Kingdom in Jesus.



This passage shows that God’s kingdom is on display through both “mighty works” (e.g., casting out demons) and small acts of service (e.g., “giving a cup of water”).

• How does this encourage you to continue to live for the cause of God’s kingdom, even in you “small” acts of service?

• Who can you encourage this week for the evidence of God’s grace in their lives because of their acts of service?

CJ gave the great statement: “Ministry is not the prerogative of the few,” rather it is the privilege of all who follow Christ in his mission. This applies to us in at least two ways: (1) we are incorporated into the mission of Christ, and (2) we can celebrate the work of others who are part of the broader mission of Christ.

• How does this passage remind you that you are part of the mission of Christ?

• What are some other gospel-centered churches in our community (e.g., Immanuel, Sojourn, Kenwood, Clifton Baptist, Third-Avenue, etc.) that we can thank God for? Take some time to praise God for these partners in the gospel and spend some time in prayer for them and their ministry.


[by Andrew Preston]