Jesus is replying to his followers after John said:
"Do not forbid him – because no one who does a powerful thing in my name will be able to easily speak ill of me. Because he who is not against us is with us." (Mark 9:39-40)
Then John replied, saying, “Master we saw someone casting out demons in your name and he was not a follower of ours – so we forbade him.” (Mark 9:38)Thus we can understand that Jesus' followers were seeing themselves within a group consciousness - "follower of ours." Jesus, however, did not see it that way.
Was Jesus a fanatic?
No. Jesus had a particular mission, and his mission was to introduce people to the Supreme Being and teach that we can only become happy if we re-develop our love for God. Jesus didn't value the group consciousness that many did and still do. If someone was "casting out demons" in Jesus' name - this meant they were at least incanting Jesus' name with some respect.
In other words, Jesus was not a fanatic. Today, we find fanatics among the various religious sects around the world who condemn others because they are not following their sect's precise rituals or haven't joined their sect.
They fanatically judge and condemn others because unfortunately, they lack their own relationship with the Supreme Being.
This is because they do not know the Supreme Being. They don't understand that the Supreme Being doesn't want us to join this group or that group. The Supreme Being simply wants us to love Him - because this is what will make us happy.
And love requires that we have the freedom to love or not to love - a concept that opposes fanaticism.
What is 'casting out demons'?
We should note that "casting out demons" had multiple meanings in ancient times. Yes, there were literal possessions according to some scripture text. But most afflictions considered today as diseases of the mind or even the brain - such as addiction, depression, anxiety and so on - were considered then to be caused by demons.
How did Jesus heal those? By offering them teachings that cured addiction and brought internal peace to those who heard his teachings. In other words, Jesus cured them with the power of the Supreme Being.
What about teaching in Jesus' name?
This exchange between Jesus and his followers also communicates an important point regarding many of the institutions and teachers who are currently teaching in Jesus' name. Just because they are teaching in Jesus' name doesn't mean they are necessarily following Jesus' instructions or carrying out his primary mission - of introducing people to the Supreme Being and teaching how one can come to love God.
Instead, many priests and reverends of today's sects focus their teachings on the value of family and related materialistic matters. Or they teach praying for Jesus to heal their leg, make money or win football games.
With regard to the teachings about family, we know that Jesus did not teach the importance of one's physical family. Consider Jesus' response when he was told that his mother and brothers were waiting outside to see him:
He answered them, saying, “Who is my mother or my brothers?” And he looked around, upon those who sat around him, and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!” Because whoever shall do God’s will – this is my brother, and my sister and mother!” (Mark 3:33-35)In other words, the focus of Jesus' teachings was on loving God and serving God.
Many want God and Jesus to serve them. They pray for things like getting wealthy or winning football games. These prayers are like ordering things up from a waiter. This has nothing to do with Jesus' mission and purpose.
We can see this clearly by one of Jesus' statements:
"Not everyone who says to me, ‘lord, lord,’ shall enter the sanctuary of the spiritual realm – only one who does what pleases my LORD in the spiritual realm. Many will say to me at that time, 'Master, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name cast out demons, and in your name perform many miracles? And I will say to them, ‘I never knew you: Get away from me, you who practice wickedness.'" (Matt. 7:21-23)Jesus is clearly stating that his mission is to teach others to do "what pleases my LORD in the spiritual realm." Who is Jesus' LORD? Jesus is referring to the Supreme Being. Jesus wants his followers to use their lives to please the Supreme Being.
Is this loving service?
The foundation of doing someone's will voluntarily and without an expectation of reward is love.
This is not the same as employment or slavery.
Jesus is not talking about doing God's will so that we can get something in return. That is business - not love.
Neither is Jesus talking about forcing people to serve God. Yet this was precisely the philosophy of the early Roman Catholic Church - which put people in prison or burnt them at the stake for not coming to church or not being a member of the church. This is not loving service - this is fanaticism.
This also goes for those fanatics who threaten people with hell. Or some fanatical groups that threaten to hurt people who have not joined their sect or religion: This is quite simply fanatical terrorism.
Terrorism and fanaticism have nothing to do with love or loving service to God. They have nothing to do with Jesus' teachings.
Remember that we are talking about the Supreme Being - someone with the power to force anyone to do anything. If God wanted to force us to worship Him, you'd better believe that we would all be worshiping Him.
But He doesn't force us. He gives us each the freedom to love Him or not.
God even gives each of us the freedom to blaspheme Him - or even to deny His very existence.
Now that is freedom. This, in fact, is why we can't see God with our physical eyes. Because He is giving us the freedom to ignore Him - or not.
Real love for God - and loving service - must be given freely. And in order for it to be given freely, it must come without any expectation of a return.
This is the foundation of love for God. This is why Jesus' and Moses' first and foremost instruction was:
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’" (Mark 12:30)