Jesus teaches us the great joy that there is in victory and deliverance.
We can well understand the joy of the Seventy as they returned to report their victories to Jesus. He had given them power and authority to heal, to cast out demons, and to preach the Word, and they were successful! In the midst of their great joy, they were careful to give God the glory.
“The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Master, even the demons submit to us in your name.” He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like lightning. Look, I have given you the authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; nothing at all will harm you.” | Luke 10:17 – 19
There is a threefold joy here:
- the joy of service (Luke 10:17–19)
- the joy of salvation (Luke 10:20)
- the joy of sovereignty (Luke 10:21–24)
They had seen individual victories from city to city, but Jesus saw these victories as part of a war that dethroned and defeated Satan. As believers, we are weak in ourselves, but we can be “strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might” (Eph. 6:10ff). Each victory is important to the Master, no matter how insignificant it may seem in our eyes. Satan will not finally be judged until Jesus casts him into the lake of fire, but God’s people can today claim the Messiah’s Calvary victory by faith.
But the enemy will not give up! Satan would certainly attack the Messiah’s servants and seek to destroy us. That is why our Master added the words of encouragement in Luke 10:19. He assured them that their authority was not gone now that the preaching mission had ended, and that they could safely tread on the “old serpent” without fear.
The Master cautioned them not to “go on rejoicing” over their victories but to rejoice because their names had been written in heaven. As wonderful as their miracles were, the greatest miracle of all is still the salvation of a lost soul. The Greek word translated “written” means “to inscribe formally and solemnly.” It was used for the signing of a will, a marriage document, or a peace treaty, and also for the enrolling of a citizen. The perfect tense in the Greek means “it stands written.”
But our highest joy is not found in service or even in our salvation, but in being submitted to the sovereign will of the Heavenly Father, for this is the foundation for both service and salvation. Here we see God the Son rejoicing through God the Holy Spirit because of the will of God the Father! “I delight to do Thy will, O my God” (Ps. 40:8).
Jesus was not rejoicing because sinners were blind to God’s truth, for God is “not willing that any should perish” (2 Peter 3:9). He rejoiced because the understanding of that truth did not depend on natural abilities or education. If that were the case, most of the people in the world would be shut out of the kingdom. When the Twelve and the Seventy were preaching, they did not see the “wise and learned” humbling themselves to receive God’s truth and grace, but they saw the “common people” trusting the Word. In His sovereign will, God has ordained that sinners must humble themselves before they can be lifted up.
The Messiah’s ambassadors are indeed privileged people. The early disciples were able to see and hear things that the greatest saints in the Old Testament ages yearned to see and hear but could not. The Messiah was at work, and they were a part of His work! So are we.
- Luke 10:17 – 19 – “17 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” 18 He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like lightning. 19 Look, I have given you the authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; nothing at all will harm you.”
- Exodus 18:9 — 9 Jethro rejoiced over all the goodness which the Master had done to Israel, in delivering them from the hand of the Egyptians.
- 1 Samuel 18:6 — 6 It happened as they were coming, when David returned from killing the Philistine, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy and with musical instruments.
- Jeremiah 41:13 — 13 Now as soon as all the people who were with Ishmael saw Johanan the son of Kareah and the commanders of the forces that were with him, they were glad.
- Zechariah 10:7 — 7 “Ephraim will be like a mighty man, And their heart will be glad as if from wine; Indeed, their children will see it and be glad, Their heart will rejoice in the Master.