Sermon: A Time for Rejoicing (Luke 10:17-24)

Luke 10.17-24 Click For Audio

A Time for Rejoicing

The Scriptures have a lot to say about Jesus.  Who He is and why He came.  The Bible tells us that Jesus was angry when the moneylenders had blocked the entrance with their moneymaking schemes.  We learn from the Bible Jesus wept as He looked over the ancient city of Jerusalem.  We learn that He was amazed as He saw the centurion’s faith at work.  Here, in our text for today we see Jesus rejoicing.  What was it that made our Lord rejoice?

What makes you rejoice?  I remember years ago reading the Bible for the first time.  I mean not just a verse but actually sitting down and reading long sections.  God’s Word has become for me a source of rejoicing.  The Bible never ceases to amaze me as it stretches my mind, not only to understand it but to grasp the infinite Lord who is the Hero of the Bible.  I love how Scripture shatters about every preconceived idea we have about Jesus.  What do you rejoice in?

The 72 newly commissioned disciples return from their first mission trip rejoicing over the outcome.  Everything Jesus said came true.  They are pleased and so is Jesus.  Jesus is overjoyed at the results, as are the disciples.  But Jesus wants to take their rejoicing to a new level.  Understand, this is the only place in all the Gospels that the Bible says Jesus rejoices.  As I read today’s text, notice with me the two things that are cause for rejoicing.  Also, please notice the great reversal Luke highlights between those who are wise in their own eyes and those who are needy.  Also notice the close relationship Jesus has with His Father.  Finally, notice what the disciples see that the prophets of old did not see… 

Lk 10:17 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!”

Lk 10:18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.

Lk 10:19 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.

Lk 10:20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Lk 10:21 In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.

Lk 10:22 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.”

Lk 10:23 Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see!

Lk 10:24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

1. Rejoice that Your Name is Written in Heaven

Lk 10:20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Like the 72 disciples here, we must be on guard that any success we may experience in the Gospel is not something we’ve accomplished by something God has done.  They were rejoicing that the evil spirits were subject to them, in Jesus’ name.  Their initial rejoicing had to do with their power over the evil spirits.  While they did have the power, it was not in their abilities that they were to be rejoicing.  Rather, they were to be rejoicing in something even more God honoring.

As Christians we must be very careful with success.  With success comes the danger of pride.

What we must practice is a continual rejoicing in the things God has done whether we experience success or not.  As Christians, our names have been written down in heaven and in this we rejoice.  We can rejoice in the Lord regardless of the circumstances around us.

Jesus was also rejoicing because, as He said, He saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning.  Satan’s stranglehold and kingdom is over.  Eventually, in the last days, the Lord Jesus will reign completely and Satan’s effects will end.  This little mission trip was the proof that the Gospel will triumph and Satan is defeated.

It’s as if Jesus says, Watch My kingdom grow…

Jesus tells them that there is something greater to rejoice in that the demons being subject to you in My name…rejoice over grace!

2. Rejoice that God is Sovereign in Salvation

Lk 10:21 In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.

Rejoice in converting Grace.  Luke continues to show us that in the decreed plan of God there is a divine reversal.  It’s God’s gracious will to give salvation to the lowly and humble not those who already think they are in good with God based on their own righteousness or wisdom.  Jesus rejoices in this fact.  Salvation is granted to some and withheld from others.  He came preaching salvation to the poor as He told John the Baptist’s disciples.

Jesus’ rejoicing is two-fold.  First He rejoices because the Father has concealed these things from some and revealed these things to others.  We must be very careful here.  We must never act as if our righteous judgments are superior to God’s.  Jesus rejoiced in this dynamic and so should we.  For some, God conceals and for others He reveals and this we may never fully understand but we must trust God and His judgment or we may find ourselves in the category of those wise in their own eyes.

Jesus not only rejoices in this but also calls it God’s gracious will.

I remember the movie, A Beautiful Mind, Russell Crowe plays the genius mathematician John Nash who struggled with mental issues.  In the movie Nash’s Psychiatrist tells him that he can’t reason his way out of his problems because it’s in his mind that the problems exist.

That’s true of us so many times when we approach the Scriptures.  We must always remember that our minds are fallen and sinful.  Jesus’ mind is pure and sinless.  So, if He rejoices in God’s sovereignty and the doctrine of election so should we even though we cannot fully understand God’s ways and purposes.  We can and must believe some things we cannot fully understand…because it’s in our minds that the problem occurs.  Someday, when sin is removed, we will rejoice in the doctrine of election as Jesus does because in it we will see God’s gracious will.

In last week’s verses, Jesus tells the disciples to rejoice in the fact that their names had been added to the registry of heaven.  Luke by comparison shows us that there is even a greater rejoicing that goes on and it is when Jesus rejoices in the fact that salvation has been given to the poor.  The word used to express Jesus’ rejoicing is much more intense than the word used for the rejoicing of the disciples.  Jesus rejoiced exceedingly.  Jesus expresses a pure and perfect, sinless joy.  Right now, we cannot experience this type of Joy because our joy is tainted by sin.  Someday when sin is removed from us, we will experience this type of joy.

Jesus rejoiced exceedingly over God’s sovereignty and the doctrine of election.  Because He did this even though we often don’t fully understand because of our fallen and sinful make-up, we must submit to these truths and because Christ saw in them joy and happiness, so should we.  Even if we don’t fully understand we must rejoice in the same things Christ rejoices in.  In humility and as trusting infants rejoice.

We have another occasion when there was rejoicing over the doctrine of election…remember the angels announcing the birth of Jesus in Luke 2?

Lk 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”  Literally, upon whom His favor rests.  We can rejoice in this great doctrine now as well.  But there will come a day when sin is removed that we will see this wonderful truth in all its multifaceted glory and we will rejoice in it like Jesus and the angels do when we really see it for what it is…God’s gracious will.

3. Rejoice that Jesus’ Will Perfectly Matches the Father’s Will

Lk 10:22 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.”

Some people have the idea that God the Father is a harsh judge and that Jesus, God the Son is the merciful One.  This is not true.  The Father and the Son are always in perfect agreement as they carry out their will.  As history continues to move toward God’s end, The Father and the Son are in perfect agreement and working toward the same end.

We can rejoice that the Son and the Father are in agreement.  When Jesus says here that God has handed over to Him the responsibility to make the Father known we know that this is exactly what Jesus does.

Not only does Jesus rejoice that salvation is given to the poor but that He has the responsibility and power to reveal it to the poor.  Jesus says that no one knows the Father except those the Son chooses to reveal Him to.

One aspect of Jesus’ mission was to make the Father known to His people.  I will be their God and they will be My people.  In doing this God’s people find eternal life.

Jn 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

Salvation is of the Lord.  I often hear things like so and so made a decision to accept Christ, however, it’s clearly the other way around.  In this text, Jesus tells us that it’s His decision to make the Father known.  Knowing the Father and the Son in this light is, as we’re told in John, eternal life.

Rejoice in the same things Jesus rejoices.  Sovereignty, agreement

4. Rejoice that Your Eyes See Things Never Seen Before

Lk 10:23 Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see!

Lk 10:24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

Finally, we must explore the responsibilities of those who do hear the Gospel.  When Jesus came to earth born a baby, lived a sinless life, and died on the cross and was raised the third day, hundreds of OT verses were unlocked for believers that before were vague and difficult to understand.  The OT prophets and Kings such as Isaiah and David did not see things as clearly as the humblest Christian today.  We have a tremendous advantage over the OT believers.

May we never take these advantages lightly.  Because we have been given the complete Gospel we are responsible to God for the complete Gospel…

Lk 12:48 But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

What was it that gave these select few such unprecedented privileges?  Jesus is building His case.  He first said that these things were hidden from those who were wise and educated and revealed to infants.  Now turning to His disciples, He tells them that their privileged status is even greater than the Prophets of old because they see and hear what the prophets didn’t.

These few were privileged to see the Kingdom of God come near.  So they were told that whether the people accept them or reject them still remember the Kingdom is still present.  This is one of Luke’s thrusts.  The Kingdom of God is near when Jesus is active and the kingdom is manifested in His actions.

%d bloggers like this: