The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Luke 10:17-20 ESV
The 72 people, whom Jesus had sent out to do ministry, thought the most amazing thing they had accomplished was overcoming the power of demons. But before they had a chance to tell him any specific stories about the amazing defeats they laid on their spiritual enemies, Jesus exercises divine one-upmanship. None of these 72 disciples could top the story of watching Satan fall from heaven like a bolt of lightning. That’d be like telling Arnold Palmer some of my awesome put-put stories.
Jesus redirects the disciples’ excitement to where it should truly be set. Their own salvation. “…but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
At first, I thought, “Why wouldn’t he say to rejoice that their names (those to whom they preached who received the message of the gospel) are written in heaven? Wouldn’t that be the focus at this point—to move focus from their own salvation and be amazed by the fruit of their laboring for the gospel?” But they were forgetting the miracle it took for their own salvation. The amazing grace that saved wretches like themselves.
Yes, having power over darkness given to me by the Spirit of God is an awesome thing, but it is not the main thing. To go off and be enamored solely with the power I have over the enemy is to downplay God’s power over the demons in my own life, that he overcame by the blood of Jesus. The grace to save a wretch like me is just as amazing as the grace to raise the dead, or cast out demons.
Lord God, the divine power I’ve seen in my life to put my name in heaven, to reinstate my relationship with you through the sacrifice of Jesus is more valuable and more miraculous than I consider it to be. Every day I either assume I am worth saving or try to make myself worth saving through working harder. Forgive me. When I see others being changed by the gospel, don’t let me be more amazed at their conversion due to some misunderstanding that they’re less savable than I am. My sin, because I am most acquainted with it, is the most miraculous for me to watch you envelop even it in your grace, and fully overcome it every day without fail.
This post is part of my Weekly REAP series. I’m posting these from my personal journal to share what God is teaching me, and to give some practical examples of the REAP method. I didn’t write any of these with publishing in mind, so forgive me if they don’t always wax eloquent. Here is some more information on the REAP study method.