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!

What then?

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.

1 comment:

  1. We read Luke 2 weeks ago, and this verse stood out to me then - and so I've been waiting to comment on it... but Denny, you beat me to it!

    However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

    The reason for rejoicing.

    Joy is the source of rejoicing (source causes action) and the source of our Joy is that our names are written in heaven.

    Happiness and emotions are fleeting.

    The source of our joy is not.

    Why do we not take this more seriously?

    Yes, we know we must continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. (Phil 2:12)

    Yet we seem to not grasp this verse: I write these things to you who believe in the name of the SOn of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13)

    Listen to Ephesians - after telling us that we were dead in our sins and transgressions but because of His great love for us God made us alive in Christ (Eph 2:1-5) the end of verse 5 and 6 says, "It is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus."

    Notice the past tenses in there. We have been saved. We have been raised up and seated with Christ. Paul was so confident in his salvation through Jesus Christ that he writes it as if it has already happened.

    How can we rejoice if we don't grasp the source of our joy?

    ... but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

    Rejoice that your name is written in heaven!