Sunday, January 4, 2015

Sending the Seventy, part 25

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) 

(Note: this post is a continuation of part 23 and part 24. You may want to read those before continuing with this post.)

If you are just joining us on this journey with the seventy, we have been studying this passage in Luke 10 for several weeks. Jesus sent seventy of his disciples to the towns and villages where He intended to go later.  They were to take nothing with them, but were dependent upon the hospitality of the villages where they would teach about Jesus and heal the sick. It must have been a hard journey, but they returned rejoicing over all they had  seen. Even the demons were subject to them in the name of Jesus.  

When they reported all that they had seen with their physical eyes to Jesus, He shared with them what He had seen in the spiritual realm. Their obedience in healing those who were beset by demons had great effect in the spiritual realm, resulting in destruction of the kingdom of the evil one. Still speaking from a spiritual sense, He told them He had given them authority to "tread on serpents and scorpions and over all power of the enemy". This was likely a reference to the fatal bruise on the head of the serpent foretold in Genesis and covered in part 24

"Nothing will injure you," Jesus told them. The word translated as "injure" comes from a root word meaning to violate justice or to deal fraudulently or deceptively.  We might interpret this to mean that nothing will deceive us. When we are obedient in following Christ, we can trust His Spirit to guide us to truth. If we follow Him, though the enemy fights against us, we will be able to resist and avoid the deception he would offer. 

These men had just completed a long and difficult journey of faith. They were not "social club church goers". These men were 100% sold out to Jesus, willing to go anywhere and do anything in obedience to Him. They were not just followers.  They were disciples. What great news it must have been that, in giving authority to do battle with the enemy, Jesus also gave them protection in the battle. Because they had a promise of protection from the enemy, they did not have to  be afraid of the battle! How often God tells us, "Fear not!" Once again, Jesus teaches them that there is no need to fear because the enemy cannot overcome their faith. 

Does this mean that there will be no physical injury? No. He had been speaking in a spiritual sense throughout this sentence, and there is no reason to think He suddenly jumped to a physical sense. When we place our trust in Jesus, He holds us secure against the wiles of the evil one, who would seek to wrench us from Christ. This fact should give us great hope for eternity and great comfort in our present life. We are safe with Jesus, no matter where He leads. Take heart, then, no matter where your obedience takes you. His Spirit is there, guiding and protecting all the way. Follow then, and fear not.