I have given you authority…however, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.
When the Seventy-two returned they were excited. We imagine the miraculous power Jesus invested in them was a heady experience. They were happy because even the demons submitted to them.
Victory! The adulation of the crowds! High-fives all around!
But the Teacher says they were mistaken in this. Instead, He tells them they should be happy that their names are written in heaven!
What does the Teacher want His students to understand?
Isn’t it a source of joy when we are a part of some successful work for God? Shouldn’t we feel great about winning a victory over some addiction? Or following Biblical principles and getting out of debt?
How about overcoming sin in our life? Being of help to someone else in their struggles?
Sure, this is all good. But there’s something infinitely better to be happy about. Having your name written in heaven! Being in God’s Book of Life!
Maybe the Teacher knows things won’t always work out for His students. Sometimes it will look like they are on the losing team.
You know. The church outreach seems to flop! You lose your job and can’t pay all the bills! You slip back into a bad habit!
No our joy must be deeper than the emotional high-five of a momentary victory in one of life’s many skirmishes.
We win some, we lose some. But the bigger battle is the Lord’s and He has won it for all who remain faithful to Him. So whether we win or lose today, we rejoice because our names are still written in heaven.