by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
3. There Is A Joy That Needs To Be Tempered
We don’t know how long the seventy were gone, where they went, or how people responded in each place. But we do know that verse seventeen reports the high spirits they returned in: “Then the seventy returned with joy, saying: ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.’" The disciples were overjoyed that they have been used as instruments of God’s power.
In verse eighteen he says to them, "… I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” Then He goes on to say, (19) “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Although I believe that Jesus is speaking in retrospect of the fall of Satan from Heaven in time past, he is also saying “When I saw the force of darkness defeated through your ministry I am reminded that Satan is already defeated.” And I believe that Jesus would say to us today, “I see Satan fall like lightning from Heaven when our church gives to missions for the coming year and sends it to missionaries around the world.”
“I see Satan fall like lightning from Heaven when the youth take a mission trip and work to build a church building in Mexico.” “I see Satan fall like lightning when the church gathers for worship and you invite a friend.” “I see Satan fall like lightning when you cheerfully welcome the new person who comes to church.” “I see Satan fall like lightning when you forgive the one who has wronged you.”
In verse nineteen, Jesus in figurative language tells the seventy that they had authority over spiritual enemies; which He called, “serpents and scorpions.” This truth was revealed later by John (1 John 4:4), “…He who is in you, is greater than he who is in the world.” There is a Joy That Needs to be Tempered by remembering that spiritual highs and emotional victories will come and go but-
4. There Is A Grace That Needs To Be Remembered (v. 20)
Verse twenty is a marvelous verse, “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven." The Lord cautions them to not go on rejoicing only over the outwardly spectacular victories but rather to rejoice because their names are written down in heaven. What the Lord means is, “they have been written and they stand written.” It is a statement of assurance. Here is the real cause for joy; in fact for continual joy.
John further reveals in Revelation 20:12-15, “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. (13) The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. (14) Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (15) And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”
The disciples need to remember that while it is true that they will be with the Lord forever, it is not because of anything they have done; but because of His grace. They must never forget that they are not fundamentally different from those to whom they are carrying the message of the gospel. And Neither Are We !!!!!
There is a Grace That Needs to Be Remembered and the fifth point is-
5. There Is A Privilege that Needs to be Considered (vv. 21-24)
In verse twenty-one, we read, “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said.” Jesus is genuinely excited; it says that he was “thrilled with joy.” As I said, I find it mind-boggling to me to realize that we have the capacity to make God rejoice by our faithful ministry. Jesus’ joy makes Him break into a prayer of thanksgiving. ".. I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.” The reasons for his rejoicing are two-fold.
First, that the truth did not go only to the “wise and (prudent) intelligent” but is something that any humble heart can receive. When Jesus says in verse twenty-one that he is thankful to the Father that He has “… hidden these things from the wise and prudent,” he is not rejoicing because sinners were blind to God’s truth, for God is “not willing that any should perish,” according to 2 Peter 3:9. He rejoiced because the understanding of that truth did not depend on natural abilities or education.
One of the gravest forms of spiritual deception is the idea that superior knowledge or intellectual capacity gives one a spiritual advantage. One day all wisdom, all power that has been exercised by man and all human cleverness will pass away, and the remaining truth will be that we are loved by God Himself and His love goes on and on.
Secondly, Jesus rejoiced to be the revealer of the Father. Having praised God for revealing himself to children, Jesus now praises the Father for making Him the source of revelation. In verse twenty-two, Jesus says, “All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him." John says of Jesus in John 1:14 & 18, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory as of the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth…..(18) For no one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” The writer of Hebrews says in (1:1-3) that, “God who at various times and in different ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, (2) has in these last days spoken to us by His son, whom he has appointed heir of all things through whom he made the worlds (3) who being in the brightness of his glory and the express image of His person….”
What is God like? Exactly as Jesus has revealed him. In verse twenty-three He then turned to His disciples and said privately, "Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see; (24) for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it."
What facts were true then, are just as true if not more so today?
• The world is perishing without Christ.
• Jesus is coming soon.
• There is a great territory to be covered, a great harvest to reap.
• The need for reaching many as quickly as possible with the gospel is urgent.
• Jesus is Still Sending. Are You Going?
There Is A Call to Be Answered. There Is A Consequence That Needs To Be Considered. There Is A Joy That Needs To Be Tempered. There Is A Grace That Needs To Be Remembered. There Is A Privilege That Needs To Be Contemplated.
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