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Watchword for the Month

What does Luke 10:20 mean for us today?

“Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”

As Jesus continued His journey towards Jerusalem and ultimately the cross, we discover increasing tension and opposition to His claim of him being the Messiah. As the day for His departure drew nearer, we find Jesus preparing men for a ministry that would shortly be handed over to them. After His death, burial and resurrection, these men were to become members of His Body on earth – through whom the gospel of God would be brought to all the corners of the earth.

Earlier in His ministry Jesus had sent out His twelve chosen disciples on a ministry mission in northern Israel. Now as a temporary measure, He commissions an extra seventy followers, and empowers them with the same authority over sickness and Satan. It is exactly the same authority that He earlier bestowed upon His chosen apostles. The 70 were commissioned to minister to people in the more hostile, southern region of Israel. Now this selected group were given the task of going ahead of Jesus, to prepare the way of the Lord, as He set out on His final visit to the city He loved so much – and to face an increasingly hostile population.

Although the ministry of the 70 was a very unique, pre-cross commission, there are many aspects of their ministry that are relevant for the Body of Christ today, as we… like them, are sent out into the world, to continue to share the gospel of Christ, with whomsoever we meet along the way.

Yes they were sent out, two-by-two, as lambs amongst wolves. Like them, we not only live in a world that is increasingly hostile towards Christ and His people, but we are directed to work together, in unity. These men were not sent as 'lone-ranger' witnesses, for we are members of one Body… who need the support of our brothers and sisters in Christ, and should be united together in love – in this increasingly God-hating, Christ-rejecting, sinful world.

Their instruction… not to carry money and make provision for their ministry, does not suggest irresponsibility, but demands a determined trust in God's provision, Who has promised to supply all our needs according to His riches in glory. By instructing them, not to greet anyone along the way, does not suggest that God condones rudeness, but rather… it encourages urgency in the mission set before us… which should not be delayed by long, ceremonial greetings or unimportant gossip.

God is no respecter of persons and Christ's directive, to remain as guest in the same house, without flitting to another residence, because of person preference, displays the godly characteristics that are expected of all God's children. And no matter what thrilling results we witness in our ministry for Christ… and no matter what excitement we experience along the way – nothing should overshadow the wonderful truth… that we are covered by the blood of the Lamb – and that our names are written in heaven.

It must have been quite an honour to have been chosen to become one of the 12, or one of the 70, and to be endowed with the responsibility, power and authority, that Christ gave to these disciples. But He was quick to point out that their joy should not be focused on the gifts, abilities, honour and acclaim, that God had graciously bestowed on them – but rather, that they should rejoice, that their names were written in the Book of Life.

It is not the gifts and abilities we have received from the Father, that should have our attention. The predominant source of our joy should be the close, personal relationship we enjoy with our heavenly Father.

Despite the position we are given… irrespective of the many gifts and grace we have received from God, our everlasting joy should be in the fact that we have been saved by grace, through faith – and have an inheritance that is kept for us, in heaven.

Praise God, that in Christ… our sins have been forgiven and eternal life is our inheritance. And although we should delight to praise God for the many blessings we receive from Him, day by day…let us rejoice… in heart, soul, mind and strength…knowing that our names are written in heaven.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we praise and thank you for your saving grace. We thank you for the many blessings that you bestow upon us. Accompany us as we journey through life and as we strive to share the love, peace and grace which we have received. In the wonderful name of Jesus we pray, AMEN.

Rev. Martin Abrahams