Matthew Henry said…
No condition of life will of itself make a man content, without the grace of God; for we find Haman discontented in the court, Ahab discontented on the throne, Adam discontented in paradise; nay, and higher we cannot go, the angels that fell discontented in heaven itself.
Luke 10:17-20: The seventy-two returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.’ He replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’
We do not know what tomorrow will bring for us. Many are excited about new challenges. Others feel discouraged early on because they have to travel the same old road. They do not feel comfortable on this way and desire change.
The disciples returned from a first-hand experience of what it means to continue Jesus’ ministry. They are happy and excited (10:17). They saw results! There are many Christians who would like to have similar experiences in their lives. They want to see how the evil one is put into his place. That is actually what we pray when we say, ‘Your kingdom come.’ God must be King, not the forces that want to harm us. We want to see results. We want to see how Satan is defeated. We want to experience power and authority over the things that can hurt us (10:19). This is what we want to experience when we follow Jesus - joy and excitement about the gifts that God gives us in the name of Jesus.
Jesus, however, makes sure that we do not lose perspective. In his book, Zeal without burnout, Christopher Ash writes, ‘There are two alternatives: we may enjoy gifts or we may enjoy grace.’ This is what Jesus is saying here. Do not get excited about the authority that Jesus gave to his followers. It is good and right, but our deepest joy is about grace (10:20). It is the certainty that our names are written in heaven. God knows us by name! He knows you by name.
Even if you had no success this year, even though every form of evil comes your way, even if you cannot do anything, the grace of God will not change. God knows you. God loves you. May it be your true source of joy!
Lord, make me excited about your grace, not the fruits thereof, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.