Jesus gathered seventy-two of his followers and sent them before Him to share the good news of the Kingdom and to prepare for His coming. They were to depend entirely upon God and His provision. It wasn’t to be a time of comfort and ease, but one of purpose and intentionality. They may be received and they may be rejected. Either way, they were to pray and go.
In the end they returned to Jesus rejoicing. It had been a marvelous experience. The capstone was that even the demons obeyed in the name of Jesus! This passage stands in contrast to the passage we examined yesterday. In that passage, the disciples weren’t able to cast out a demon from a young boy. There they had failed. Here they had succeeded.
The same application we drew yesterday hits us again today. There, we trusted the Gospel in the face of our failures. Here, Jesus reminds us to trust the Gospel in the face of our successes. That is what He tells his disciples: “Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (10:20).
Our hearts can tend to doubt when we know our failures. On the other hand, our hearts can tend to become prideful and self-sufficient when we see accomplishment. Maybe it is leading someone to Jesus, teaching a Bible study, or having a strong conversation with an unbeliever. Or it may be reading the Bible in a year or memorizing a large chunk of Scripture. Any number of “spiritual successes” can move our hearts to think that God loves us more or better because we are doing well. While He is pleased with our faithfulness as Jesus was in the passage, we remember His love for us isn’t based on how well we do, but on the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf.
How does the Gospel help to fight pride in your life? How is God teaching you to rely completely upon Him and His provision?