Saturday, January 3, 2015

Sending the Seventy, part 23

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)

There is an unbearable sweetness in Jesus' response to the sent-ones on their return. The seventy returned to tell Jesus about their trip. It had been hard and tiring. They must have been physically exhausted. Spiritually, however, they were on a mountaintop from which they would never recover. They were bubbling over with excitement about all they had seen, all God had allowed them to accomplish in the name of Jesus. Even the demons were subject to them in Jesus' name, they told Him. Listen to this sweet thing that Jesus said to them. It's amazing!

"I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning."

How about that?! He was telling His excited disciples, the sent-ones, that He had been keeping His eye on them, and that He knew what they had been doing. He knew that the demons had been subject to them in His name and, when that happened, He "was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning." As they brought healing from demonic influence in the life of those to whom they ministered, Satan literally lost ground in the high places. Jesus told them that, when they were ministering in His name, it was as if he could see lightning flashing all around with the fall of Satan's kingdom. Get that picture in your mind's eye. Wow. Pretty exciting, isn't it?

There's an interesting contrast between what the sent-ones saw and what Jesus saw. The sent-ones saw the lives that were changed. They saw the physical evidence of the demons leaving those who were healed. Jesus, on the other hand, saw the spiritual evidence of Satan's kingdom losing ground. What the disciples saw was very exciting, and there's no doubt about that.  We would be fortunate to see what they saw. If we could see what Jesus sees when we minister, however, how much more exciting it would be! 

"Satan falling from heaven like lightning". We can, through our obedience in sharing the good news of Jesus, be a part in that fall. We can have a part in not only extending the Kingdom of God, but also decreasing the kingdom of darkness.  Best of all? No matter how hard, how lonely, or how tiring our work, we can be assured that our Lord knows exactly what we face and that He is watching and cheering us on! 

So, weary servants, take heart. Even when your way is hard, you are never alone, never out of sight. Our Lord cares for you, and He is watching over you. He doesn't miss a thing!