We live in a world full of cool stuff. We have amazing electronics, we have nice homes and, my favorite, we have multiple 24-hour sports channels and incredible athletes to watch. Oh, and the Hallmark Channel (for my wife). But did you ever wonder what Jesus thinks is cool?
Luke 10 is a pretty astonishing view into the ministry of Jesus. It starts with Jesus sending out 72 missionaries 2-by-2. There objective was to prepare the people for Jesus coming to visit them. These were Jesus’ marketing crew, and their message was simple: the Messiah is coming.
Jesus prepared them for what they would encounter and how to respond.
- Some will accept the message. In that case, stay with them, eat what they give you and heal them to show their message was true.
- And some will reject the message. In that case, leave the town, shake off the dust of that town from your shoes, and I will guarantee that it won’t end well for them.
My favorite part of this story was in verses 3-4, in which he basically says, “Y’all are about to enter dangerous territory. You’re going to be lambs among wolves (which usually doesn’t end up well for the lambs). I wonder, what was their response to Jesus in that moment? Pretty sure mind would be something like this:
So, uh, what should we take with us, Jesus, you know, to protect us from these wolves?
“That’s right, no wallet, no duffle bag, no shoes.”
No shoes? You mean, it will be impossible to even run from these wolves? Not cool, Jesus. Not cool.
“Oh, and don’t say hi to anyone along the way, either. Just keep your head down.”
How many of us would sign up for that? Well, maybe if we knew Jesus as well as these 72 knew Jesus, we’d probably would have done exactly what they did. We would go, and they did.
What’s great about this story is what happened when they returned from their marketing tour, ah…mission. Listen to what they said in verse 17 when they got back:
Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!
They were pumped, as if to say, OMG, you aren’t going to believe this!
Then Jesus pulled out his proverbial “I walked on the moon” version of one-upmanship. You know, the kind of thing only the 12 men who walked on the moon can say to top anyone’s story. I can almost see the sly grin on his face when he said in response, “Fellas, I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but I saw Satan get booted out of heaven. So this power over demons thing…not that big of a deal.”
Then Jesus dropped a truth bomb on his crew. Check this out:
“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.”
Okay, stop right there. If that had been all Jesus said to these folks, that would have been enough. Did you hear that! ALL POWER over the enemy. I mean, to have Jesus conform the authority He had given them, and to hear His promise that nothing shall hurt them…that is pretty special.
But…(oh, and there is a but)…but that is not all Jesus said to them. And what he said to them after this statement is what I think He would say to each of us, especially when we get excited when God works through us in miraculous ways. He concludes his remarks to this group by saying,
“Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
What was He saying to these people? You know, the truth is we all have a tendency to love the gifts of God more than God Himself, and Jesus here is reminding His followers that being a child of God is better than any gift God might give you, no matter how cool it may be. Don’t get pumped up about what God does though you. Rather, just be pumped about the fact that you belong to Him, because, in the end, that is all that’s truly worth celebrating; when one person turns from his sin and comes to Jesus in faith begging God for forgiveness and eternal life.
Take a moment to dive into this amazing chapter in Luke 10, and let God speak to you though the good doctor’s account of Jesus’ early ministry.