Rejoice for the Right Reasons

Jesus had sent out his disciples with his authority to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal those who are sick. As his disciples returned, they were excited about what had happened. They said that they had even seen the demons submit to them in Jesus’s name.

They were excited about the power that they wielded before the evil spirits.

They were excited about the fact that they had the authority to tell the evil spirits what to do, and if I’m right based on what I read in other places about the, they may have even been excited about showing others the authority that they were able to wield.

But Jesus tries to return them back to the right prioritization. They shouldn’t be thinking about the authority that they carried. They should be thinking, instead, about the fact that they too have been saved. They too have received forgiveness for their sins and, through Christ, are able to be saved from wrath and judgment. Jesus told them:

However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

Luke 10:20

Very frequently, as we think about doing a ministry work, we can think about how we look, or we can dream about how it might turn out one day. We can imagine that God will use us for great things. We can think of the throngs of people who will come to know Christ as a result of our efforts.

But this can fool us into thinking wrongly about our relationship with God. We can think that we are deserving of a relationship with him. We can forget the humility with which we have come into the Kingdom. We can even eventually think that we are much more than what we are, imagining that we are great, imagining that we are clearly worthy when, instead, whatever we have we have been given to us by God.

I think that this is Jesus’s point to his disciples. Don’t rejoice because the evil spirits obey you, Jesus said. Instead, let’s simply remember that you have been saved from God’s wrath. You have been spared from judgment.

Amen. That is good for each of us to remember as well. Whatever we have, we have been given. What we are able to do for God is because this is God’s work and he is using us to do it. There isn’t reason for us to rejoice because of what we can do, but we should rejoice because of what Christ has done for us.

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