The power and authority here are usually in specific reference to our enemy Satan. This is important. I am not to fear or be afraid. Jesus has defeated the enemy that seeks to kill and destroy us. Through the blow that Jesus handed to Satan, we have the same authority. Jesus gladly gives it to us.
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” | Matthew 28:18
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 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. 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 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).
Jesus 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. 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!
- Luke 9:1 — 1 And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases.
- Matthew 10:1 — 1 Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.
- Mark 6:7 — 7 And He summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits;
- Mark 16:17–18 — 17 “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
- Luke 10:17–19 — 17 The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Master, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” 18 And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. 19 “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.
Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 211). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.