Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Disciple and Demons

"He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18).

When the 72 disciples returned from preaching and healing, they rejoiced and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name” (Luke 10:17). It is interesting that before the Transfiguration, Jesus had sent the Twelve on the same kind of mission, but they had not been able to deal with the demonic powers (Luke 9:1–6). Remember, Jesus had to heal a demonized child whom the disciples had been unable to help (Luke 9:37–43). Now, however, even the demons are subject to the disciples. The kingdom was coming and had advanced a major step forward.

Jesus replied to the disciples that while they were casting out demons, He was watching Satan fall from heaven. Jesus does not tell us where He saw such a vision, whether it was in His own mind, or whether this is a figure of speech by which He characterizes the impact of their mission. He saw Satan losing his power, losing his grip on much of this world. Adam had given the world over to Satan, but now Jesus was taking it back.

Jesus then said, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you” (v. 19). Jesus was empowering His disciples to move through the wilderness of this world, trampling down all unclean forces. Of course, Satan had spoken through a serpent in bringing about the fall of man, so that trampling the serpent is a reference to the defeat of demonic powers. There is no way that the powers of hell can ever triumph over the people of God.

Yet, there was something more important. Jesus said, “Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (v. 20). Often we get enthusiastic when we see the power of the kingdom, but Jesus says it is most important that we are included in the kingdom. The power may not always be evident, but one thing is sure: Our names are written in heaven.

Contrary to many teachings on the victorious life, the real victory we celebrate is God’s triumph over Satan and his hostile forces. Although our personal failures in sin are grievous, we can yet rejoice that our names are still written in heaven because of God’s ultimate triumph.