Some days I get excited about the wrong thing. What matters is God’s complete rule in my life. What matters is His presence in my relationships. There are things that matter. There are things that don’t. I need to see the difference. That is a huge thing for me to get. I must focus!
Yes, we have authority and can exercise it in Jesus the Messiah. But that isn’t what is important.
We must remember that daily. Doing what God wants is the key. Jesus demands that we submit to what God wants to do.
This isn’t about us. It isn’t about what we want. It is all about God. God is God. It is all about what He wants. In God’s country (Kingdom), Jesus is King.
Jesus said, “I know. I saw Satan fall, a bolt of lightning out of the sky. See what I’ve given you? Safe passage as you walk on snakes and scorpions, and protection from every assault of the Enemy. No one can put a hand on you. All the same, the great triumph is not in your authority over evil, but in God’s authority over you and presence with you. Not what you do for God but what God does for you—that’s the agenda for rejoicing.” (Luke 10:18-20 The Message)
Here are the key ideas:
- God is God
- God is in control
- God is with us. He is present.
There is a threefold joy here: the joy of service, the joy of salvation, and the joy of sovereignty.
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.
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 Master, and in the power of His might”. Each victory is important to the Jesus, 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. He assures us that our authority is not gone now that the preaching mission had ended, and that we could safely tread on the “old serpent” without fear. Now that is some good news.
The Master cautioned them not to “go on rejoicing” over their victories but to rejoice because their names had been written in heaven. The verb means “they have been written and they stand written.” It is a statement of assurance. 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 Your 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.
King Jesus’ ambassadors are indeed privileged people. We are 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 is at work, and we are a part of His work!
Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, pp. 210–211). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.