It must have been a heady experience: Jesus appointed seventy-two men and told them to go ahead of him and preach the Kingdom, and when they came back from their journey, they had an incredible report:
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” Luke 10:17 (ESV)
When this band of brothers went out in the name of Jesus, even the demons did exactly what they said. It must have felt like they were really making a difference, like they were doing something that really mattered. And so they came back feeling significant…powerful…used by God.
Personally, I’ve never cast out a demon, but like many others, I’ve had wonderful experiences serving the Lord and feeling used by Him. But Jesus puts all of this into perspective when he reminds the disciples what they should really get excited about:
“Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20 (ESV)
This is what matters, is it not? Heaven. Eternal life. Forever with Christ. Whatever is going on in our lives, good or bad, we need to occasionally slow down and think about the reality of this place…and of eternity in fullness of joy.
- Did the girl just say yes to a first date? That’s nice, but Christ’s yes to you is far better.
- Did you just get into the “right” college? Good for you, but you know that one day Christ has qualified you for someplace much, much greater.
- Did you just get the job of your dreams? Congratulations, and keep dreaming, because you can’t imagine how wonderful this place is going to be.
Heaven seems so far away sometimes, ephemeral, more an illusion and a wish than actual reality. But heaven is as real as the chair you’re sitting on. And if you have trusted in Christ, you are going to spend eternity there…because your name is written in the Lamb’s book of life.
And that’s worth throwing a party for.
For tomorrow, July 15th: Luke 11