The seventy disciples journeyed out to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to the towns and villages of Judea. Can you picture them? What would happen? Would they be accepted and welcomed? Would they be silenced? Would they be driven out? What miracles would God empower them to do?
Imagine how they wondered as they obeyed! Jesus followed along behind His disciples and began preaching in the towns they had prepared with the message. When each disciple finished their assignment, they would find their way back to where Jesus was on His journey. As the men returned, each was filled with excitement over the stories they had to tell their Master. They said, “‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your name!’” Jesus had come to set the captives free, and now His power was flowing out through His faithful followers!
How different these men were from the ones who fought and badgered Jesus in the Temple courts of Jerusalem. As the religious leaders plotted murder, these common men responded with faith. And so Jesus added and strengthened their faith by drawing them into the liberating, glorious work of the Kingdom! They were endowed with magnificent power from Heaven itself.
Jesus told them:
“‘I saw Satan fall like lightening from Heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy: nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in Heaven.’”
Wow. Something remarkable had just happened. A powerful moment in the epic battle against evil came when the disciples of Jesus…these common, ordinary men…went out and preached the Good News of the Kingdom of God. Jesus had come to earth on a divine rescue mission to conquer sin and death. These were the two things Satan brought into the world after he tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden. As the followers of Christ proclaimed the Good News of Jesus’ coming victory, it struck a major blow towards Satan’s defeat. The Kingdom of Light was breaking into the Kingdom of Darkness!
As Jesus spoke of snakes and scorpions, He was using the names of creatures that most of us are afraid of to describe something far more dangerous and hateful. He was talking about demonic spirits. The stories in the Gospels show us how demons were responsible for making people sick and holding them to terrible bondage, such as insanity. Jesus had given His disciples authority over them.
As amazing as that power is for setting captives free, Jesus said there was something far more valuable that these faithful men should rejoice about. In the Bible, we are told that there is a special book in Heaven where the names of all God’s children are written. It’s called the Book of Life. Anyone whose name is in that book will have everlasting life. They will spend eternity with Christ in a place of total joy and peace.
If you have put your faith in Jesus Christ, your name is written there, too. Have you ever had a moment or a day where you were so happy, so full of bright, light, wondrous bliss that you might split apart with exhilaration? That is how Heaven is going to be, only we will all be feeling it together, and it will never, ever end. That is the promise. That is what we are waiting for. That is the true reason for all of His disciples to rejoice, no matter when in time they have lived! It is the greatest, most remarkable, unimaginably wonderful hope in all of history.
The idea filled Jesus with such overwhelming, happy delight that He began to rejoice right then and there! He declared, “‘I praise you, Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was Your good pleasure.’”
He went on, “‘All things have been committed to me by my Father.’” Wow. Now we know why Satan fell from Heaven. When Adam and Eve sinned, they plunged the world into a terrible curse. They handed tremendous power over to the Evil One. But the coming of Jesus was going to reverse all of that, and this was the beginning of that reversal. Satan’s reign of evil will come to an end someday. While he still has power, his doom is certain. God the Father committed to put all powers and dominions under the full authority of Jesus!
Then Jesus went on: “’No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.’” Wow. The disciples of Jesus understand who He is because He has shown them. What a high and holy privilege it is to know Jesus as the Son of God!
Then Jesus turned to His disciples and said to them privately, “‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.’”
What was it that the kings and prophets longed to see? What wonderful things did God reveal to Jesus’ disciples that He kept hidden from His faithful servants in the past?
For centuries the saints of God had wondered how God was going to fix the terrible problem of the curse. They knew the Law, and they offered up sacrifices for their sin. They told about the coming of a Messiah and of a great King who would sit on David’s throne. They prophesied about a Son of Man who would come in total victory over God’s enemy. They spoke of a Suffering Servant who would bear terrible wounds, and that by His wounds, He would heal many. Yet they did not know how it all was going to tie together to bring about God’s magnificent plan, and they longed and yearned to know this Great Mystery! Now these rag-tag disciples were not only witnessing the One Man who was all of these things, they were taking part in His epic work defeating God’s mightiest enemy! Wow. The amazing thing is that if we so choose, you and I get to be a part of it, too!