We read a little further down that even those who were not following Jesus were casting out demons in the name of Jesus (vs. 38). Power is inherent in His name, because of the authority He has been given! But before someone decides to cast out demons in the name of Jesus, not having a relationship with Him, please read what happened to the seven sons of Sceva!
However, there is a kind of evil spirit which can only be cast out, Jesus said, by prayer and fasting (vs. 29). Jesus lived a lifestyle of prayer and fasting, where those disciplines were just part of His everyday walk with God. When He encountered the boy with the deaf and mute spirit, He did not have to go away for a week to fast and pray, and then come back to heal the boy. I believe the Spirit is calling those who have ears to hear, to do likewise, so that we will, as our Master was, be ready to help all those whom the Lord brings across our paths, for the glory of the Father!
I think that if someone even desires to be first, he has missed the heart of Jesus, for He is humble and lowly in heart (Mat 11:29). And meekness is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). Moses was the meekest man of his generation (Num 12:3), and we all know he had no desire to be first, and to be the leader that God called him to be (Exo 3-4)! But that is why meekness, humility, lowliness, is the necessary prerequisite in the leaders God raises up – for anyone who desires to be first, can have their hearts corrupted by pride once they acquire a following.
What are the causes of stumbling and sin? Is it your hand, your foot, or your eye? James said:
“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” Jam 1:13-15
The cause of sin, is the desire for that thing that is conceived in the heart of a man. Cutting off the hand will not change the heart. But Jesus, by saying something as radical as, If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off, is saying that whenever you find a cause of sin in yourself, don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can give in to it once in a blue moon and the rest of the time resist it – but cut that cause completely off – sever it from you!
Obviously, a man’s heart cannot be cut off from him. The heart can only be changed, made new, by the new birth in Jesus Christ! If the believer finds a desire for sin in his heart, then the only course is to turn! With prayer and fasting, bring your heart before the Lord, and do not leave His presence until His desires have incinerated the evil desire from you, and the flesh of your heart has been cut away, so that you have a circumcised heart toward the Lord!
“For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt. Salt isgood, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.” Mar 9:49-50
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” Mat 5:13
Because Jesus is continuing His same discourse on the causes of sin, He is teaching that His people retain their saltiness, as it were, by maintaining their holiness and their sanctification as the set apart people of YHVH. The world runs after sins, but if the Lord’s people do so also, then they have lost their flavor, and are in danger of being thrown out and trampled underfoot.