Those whom Jesus sent out have returned with glowing reports! I wonder how long this missionary journey lasted. Did they encounter resistant cities? How many cities did they reach? We don’t get the answers to these questions from Luke but we do get to hear exciting news from the returnees and from Jesus concerning their recent work.
When the men returned from the field they told Jesus that “even the demons are subject to us in Your name” (verse 17). We weren’t told when they were sent out if Jesus had given them His authority over the demons, like He had done with the twelve. But they apparently had used Jesus’ name over any demons they encountered, and were VERY successful.
Jesus commented on their success by saying that He actually saw Satan fall because of their labors. Jesus said that these men, by being faithful and going out in His name directly impacted Satan and his kingdom! Hallelujah!!! I know Jesus was personally on earth with these seventy two, but if seventy two can have that effect imagine what thousands who call on Jesus’ name can do now! Sick-em boys!
Jesus gave this group additional authority upon their return. They were faithful in a little, now He will give them even more. “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” (verse 19). I do NOT believe this verse is meant to tell us to pick up, or walk on, serpents and scorpions to prove our faith. However, Paul was able to shake a snake off of himself and was not affected by it. But I’m wondering if the “serpents and scorpions” aren’t representative of spiritual forces as well. Jesus’ next words are what brings this question to mind: “Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you” (verse 20a).
Jesus equipped His men well. They were completely safe while He was on earth with them. They were protected even from the storms. But after His return to Heaven, they would face death too. Not from the scorpions or snakes, but by the same men responsible for Jesus’ death.
But death was not the end for these men. Because their names were written in Heaven. ALL who surrender their lives to Jesus receive this same gift. Jesus said that this was more praise worthy than having dominion over Satan and his minions. And NOTHING Satan can do can change that. THAT is how nothing can hurt us. Our physical bodies will one day be gone but our eternal spirits will live forever with Him.
Lord Jesus, I’m so glad these men were a help to You in Your earthly ministry. They were able to discern the truth of the message too and knew that what happened was through the power of Your name instead of their own ability. Please remind me of Whose power is really at work any time I start trying to take credit. Thank You that You gave us the same authority to use today. Help us to put Satan on the run in Your name.