By Ken Asel
A Reading from the Gospel of Luke 10:17-24
17 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” 18 He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. 19 Indeed, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
21 At that very hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
23 Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see but did not see it and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”
The seventy-two sent by Jesus must have been stunned. Two by two, this crowd were chosen for a mission. In pairs, “go and do likewise”: heal the sick and prepare others for the great harvest, bringing good tidings to all. These missionaries were to announce the coming of the Son of God. And these tidings were not just information, but an extraordinary message coming with power, news that just very well may change their lives: What Christ is bringing is worth the wait!
But before they depart on their journey, in a few verses just before our passage today, Jesus cautions them. It is as if he says, “Wait, there’s one more thing to tell you before you leave. What you are about to do can be dangerous. The Father’s harvest will be great, but you will be among wolves. Take care and focus on what I am sending you to do.”
Just a few verses later, the missionaries return to Jesus with astounding news. “Lord, the demons are subject to us in your name.” “Scorpions” and “snakes,” symbols of dark powers, are vanquished. Satan’s throne is cast down! Yet Jesus pauses, sharing again words of caution. Whenever a follower of Christ shares the good news, Beware, says the Master. The temptations are great. Celebrate, rejoice, but “don’t rejoice that the spirits submit to you.” Rather, rejoice in the gift of God.
When we go out to do what we’re sent to do, we can easily make this about us rather than remember we are simply called to tell the story — a story of unimaginable blessings, shared by going out two by two, of the great love, the great treasure, God has for us.
(The Reverend) J. Kenneth Asel, D.Min. is a retired priest of the Diocese of Wyoming. Devvie and he have been married more than thirty years and reside on the Front Range.
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Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer
Today we pray for:
The Church of South India (United)
The Episcopal Church in Minnesota