Thursday, January 1, 2015

Sending the seventy, part 22:

The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name." And He said to them, "I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven." (Luke 10:17-20 NASB)

The seventy sent-ones had just returned from their missionary trip, having traveled (on foot) to the towns where Jesus planned to go. They had paved the way by telling the people about Jesus and healing the sick. It was hard. It was exciting. It filled them with joy. 

When they returned, the sent-ones were bubbling over with excitement about their experience. "Even the demons are subject to us in Your name!" It was amazing to them, and it would be to us. They prayed for healing and people were healed. They prayed in the name of Jesus for demons to leave those they tormented, and the demons came out. The healing and restoration they witnessed took their breath away and thrilled them completely. 

"Even demons," they said. The most impossible thing happened through the power of the name of Jesus and they were in awe of that power. 

At the name of Jesus, even the demons fled. 

We, who are so comfortable in our padded pews with church services that are limited to a strict timetable and order of worship, may go a lifetime and never see a soul set free from demonic control at the name of Jesus. We may never see the lame walk, the blind see, the deaf hear. We may never invoke the name of Jesus with the bold faith of these seventy sent-ones, and we will be poorer for our lack of faith. There is one fact that needs to be ingrained in our minds and hearts. Our failure to see, our failure to ask, our failure to pray in no way indicates an inability on God's part to deliver, to hear, to free, or to redeem. The God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever is still able to heal, redeem, and set free. Even demons still have to obey the name of Jesus. 

As we begin this new year, let us embark on the journey of the sent-ones. This year, with nothing but the commission of Christ, let us follow in obedience and invite our Lord to do what we never dreamed was possible this year. Pray that the captives would be set free, that demons would flee, and that we, like the sent-ones, would be filled with joy by all we see God do. 
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Read last night's post, The New Zealand Badge, here. It turns out that faithfulness in working toward a little goal can achieve more than you knew was possible.