“However, don’t rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20, HCSB).
After Jesus had commissioned and sent out the twelve disciples to proclaim the Kingdom of God, He sent out seventy other of His disciples. They were to go ahead of Him in pairs to every town where He was about to go and heal the sick and proclaim the Kingdom of God was near.
When the seventy returned to Jesus they were filled with excitement because they were able to cast out demons in Jesus’ name.
Jesus commended the seventy by quoting a prophetic verse from Ezekiel in reference to their deliverance ministry: “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a lightning flash” (vs. 18). This verse from Ezekiel spoke of God’s initial judgment against Satan after he rebelled against God.
Jesus seemed to assign a further fulfillment of it in the deliverance ministry of the seventy.
Then Jesus warned them not to rejoice because they were empowered to cast out evil spirits but because their names were written in heaven in the Book of Life!
People are fascinated by power, especially their own power (or seemingly their own). They can even begin to think they are somehow extraordinary or fantastic.
The seventy were fascinated by the power they exercised in casting out of demons. They thought it amazing that evil spirits submitted to their command.
But God was the power behind their performance, not the disciples themselves.
So Jesus warned the seventy to rejoice in the One who empowered them, not in the power He gave them.
Although God may empower His people to perform His works, that power is provisional; it’s a temporary accommodation. It only matters in this present world to enable us to accomplish God’s will and proclaim the good news of His Kingdom.
While God’s power in us is transitory, His grace is lingering!
His grace sustains us forever. Therefore, it matters not only in this present world but in the world to come. His grace imputes eternal life into us.
So, fascinations with God-given power and ability only distract us from the fact that God is the source of our eternal life.
What’s fascinating, then, is not so much God’s power working through us but God’s grace working in us!. That’s what lasts forever.