After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go.
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!”
Can you sense the excitement these disciples felt?
They were sent out into the world by Jesus to preach the Good News of a new life that awaits all who repent and turn to Jesus for salvation. They were given power to speak boldly, to heal, to bring light unto darkness in the name of Jesus.
These were not extraordinary people chosen because of their amazing human abilities. These were people who simply believed in Jesus, listened with faith and then traveled in obedience.
They didn’t know what to expect once being sent into the mission field of neighboring towns, only that they were called to go and that the journey would be difficult and dangerous.
Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.
What happened next though rocked their world; they were astonished at the power they had. And when they returned they were like children telling their father of the great adventures they experienced
And Jesus’ reply?
18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 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.
Jesus is excited too! He shares their enthusiasm.
God is well pleased when men and women of God, rich in the power of the Holy Spirit step into the world and speak truth, bring healing and spread encouragement and hope.
The rewards of this new life in Christ so far outweighs the old life of striving for more money, nicer stuff, and greater recognition.
The life lived in selfish pursuits of what the world offers leads to emptiness, sorrow and disappointment and even spiritual and ultimately physical death when taken to the extreme (addictions, crimes, betrayal, jealousy, resentments).
But a life of intentionality poured out to share the Gospel of Christ, to share the forgiveness and compassion we receive so richly from our Heavenly Father with all whom He places in our path each day is to live a life of abundance.
I love that I was led into Luke 10 this morning because I experienced this joy just this last weekend. A woman at church was abandoned by her husband leaving her with 2 small boys, 7 months pregnant, and a mortgage she couldn’t afford. A tragic situation but by the grace of God, her loving family, the heart of the church and the power of Christ through the Holy Spirit many rallied around her. She was flown cross country to be close to family, provided a nearly fully furnished home through donations and miracles of timing, and a long story short, I was blessed with the opportunity to help coordinate the volunteers on move-in day.
To experience the people coming together to help this young family, donating furniture, appliances, clothing, bedding, money, time, sweat and the heart-felt prayers… there was an incredible energy throughout the day and I feel like I know exactly how those 72 felt when they returned to Jesus to describe the miracles they witnessed.
To be a part of healing, whether for a moment or a lifetime brings incredible joy to God our Father in heaven, for this is what we were designed for.
Jesus Rejoices in the Father’s Will
21 In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
23 Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”
It is beyond description the feelings of great joy I felt that night at the overwhelming sense of something good was done today. In that moment of awareness I realized the incredible contrast from my old life to the new which revealed the power of Christ in me.
I realized that on any Saturday in my past life it would have started with “what do I want to do today” and spent it in pursuit of “fun” trying to fill a void that I couldn’t define.
But today my thoughts and desires are filled with “how can I be a blessing in someone else’s life today” and at the end of the day I am blessed with experiencing that fullness I had nearly given up hope of ever finding.
That fullness has nothing to do with the status of my checkbook ($52) or coming home to a nice house (460 sq ft apartment) or having a full refrigerator (1 frozen chicken breast in the freezer), or a new car (6yr old bought used) or fancy job (office is in the back of a parts warehouse) or a beautiful wife (single).
That joy comes from knowing that my life made a difference in the life of another, even if only for a day or a moment. That joy remains knowing that there is an endless supply of people in need and by God’s grace I will get to experience the joy of coming alongside others in my church with the selfless desire to bless another in any way we can, for no other reason than to glorify God.
Jesus Himself told us to keep our priorities straight, that no matter how good it feels to have the power of Christ in us to do good works, there is a greater joy we should be thankful for…
Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
My deepest and most sincere desire for the whole world this morning is that everyone gets at least one moment in their life, through a personal relationship with Christ can experience the Kingdom of God here on earth and be given eyes to see and ears to hear and will personally experience the incredibly joy that comes from knowing you are part of God’s great plan for the redemption of the world.
We are given power through Him who saved us and promised eternity by His side, this is our reward through faith in Christ Jesus and it is not something we have to wait for or work for, it is something we can live out and experience each day, starting today.
In the midst of darkness and pain WE are the light. WE are love, WE are one in Christ with a purpose to bring healing to others by revealing His incredibly love through our sincere love of others, ALL others (who is your neighbor).
What an awesome calling!
Father God, I thank You that You continue to reveal that as I long to grow closer to You and seek You with all my heart, mind and body and seek to keep dead the old man and live out a life that glorifies You that the byproduct is a richness of Spirit and gladness of heart that far outweighs any rewards I have ever experienced in the world. Your joy, Your peace, Your visions and purposes transcend where I am physically in this life. In that I can say without reservation that I thank You for allowing the suffering in my youth and leaving me to my nearly suicidal emptiness in my pursuit of all things of this world, for You designed us to never be satisified apart from You. I believe only now am I starting to experience only a glimpse of what true satisfaction is and I am overwhelmed at the joy of satisfaction in You. Not in me, but in allowing myself to truly believe that I am a part of You and that You are in me. I am incapable of the love that You pour into me but I’m slowly realizing that if I can only empty myself out that You can love others through me. I continue to pray for the ability to empty my life out for You Lord, for Your glory and to be Your disciple in any way You send me. Thank You for Your sacrifice that makes it possible for a wretch like me to experience even a glimpse of You. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus’ precious name I pray…