23 May 2012Luke 10:17-24
"The seventy returned with joy,saying. 'Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!'" (v. 17)
The seventy returned not with complaints of the harsh and tough
mission they were sent to do. There was no news of shipwreck and
opposition, but only joy in their success, especially in the
casting away of evil spirits. Jesus acknowledged their story by
saying, "I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of
lightning" (v. 18). Satan and his kingdom fall as a result of their
preaching of the gospel (the good news about Jesus). They had been
successful in casting evil spirits from human bodies but Jesus saw
and rejoiced in the fall of the devil from human souls.
Luke's Gospel makes it clear that Satan falls from heaven like lightning - so suddenly and visibly that everyone may percieve it. Sometimes this case stands as a warning for the disciples against spiritual pride in the moment of success in their ministry.
Jesus moves on to enlarge their commission: "See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy ..." (v. 19). He gave them more power for more tasks to be done. Jesus also directed them in their joy not just for their success, but because their names are written in heaven. That is to say , they are chosen to be God's children by faith. The power and joy of being God's children is to be valued more than any power to perform miracles. What an example it is for mentors and supervisors for ministry: Jesus called, trained, instructed, sent and empowered them, and now welcomed and celebrated their success. Here, he offered thanks to the Father for such men and perhaps women whom he had called into honourable service.
How often do we forget that we're doing God's ministry and its effectiveness depends on what the disciples affirmed: "Lord, in your name..."? How might you remember this more?
What do you think is the purpose of God's given authority to the disciples? How do you see authority being used in ministry today?