Summary: We rejoice because of the work that God performs through us but the most important reason to rejoice is because our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
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Pastor James May
WHAT ARE YOU REJOICING ABOUT?
Luke 10:17-20, "And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven."
Jesus had sent his disciples out two by two, to preach the gospel throughout the land of Israel. 70 men, dedicated, consecrated, called and chosen had walked out into the territory of Satan’s domain. They went forth as a conquering army, preaching, ministering, praying for the sick and casting out devils everywhere they went.
The power that Jesus had bestowed upon them was beyond imagination. It was as though 70 Elijah’s or 70 Moses’ had been released upon Israel. Great miracles and crusades were formed as God’s army received its marching orders and advanced upon the strongholds of Satan.
Jesus had sent them forth as his fore-runners, to prepare the way for Jesus’ coming into every city where they went, just as John the Baptist had prepared the way for Jesus’ coming and appearing before the people at the River Jordan. It was there that Jesus’ public ministry began and now it was time for his ministry to begin spreading far and wide.
Jesus knew that the work that these 70 were sent to do would stir up trouble. He already knew the many hardships they would face. Nothing escapes his knowledge and his plans are already completed to overcome every attack of the enemy and bring about the victory.
Luke 10:3-4, "Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way."
What kind of encouragement was that to men who had never been involved in any type of ministry before?
It was as though Jesus was saying, “You are going to go out and be chased like wolves desiring to devour you and kill you. You are going to face all-out spiritual warfare. You are going to go hungry at times. You will have to flee for your very lives at other times. You will never be rich by this world’s standards. In fact, I want you to leave your money at home and don’t take anything along to protect yourself with like a rod or a staff. You will have to give up being close to your family and friends most of the time. Don’t bring any extra clothes or shoes because I require you to live totally by faith. And one last thing, don’t dilly-dally around. Don’t stop to talk to friends or make new friends, just keep moving. Now - Welcome to Ministry! How many of you are really called to do this job? We shall soon see.”
Jesus never promised them that they would not be persecuted.
Luke 10:10-12, "But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city."
Luke 10:16, "He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me."
I wonder if Jesus could have been more negative in his commission to these 70 disciples? I wonder if he was even then, trying to test their faith, trust and commitment to him?