The 72 disciples returned from their mission with amazing stories. Jesus celebrated with them, saying, “I saw Satan fall like lightning.” As ambassadors for Jesus, He gives us His power to defeat evil in this world. Let’s take a stand together! (Luke 10:17-24)
Thanks for joining us today for Walking in the Word, the biblical teaching arm of the Women World Leaders’ podcast. My name is Julie Jenkins, and I am the host for this, our Wednesday edition of the podcast.
If you are new to Women World Leaders – we offer three different podcast episodes on this one feed each week. On Mondays, founder Kimberly Hobbs host Empowering Lives with Porupose – a 30-minute interview with a different woman of faith who shares her God story in the hopes of empowering you to walk in your God-given purpose. On Fridays, we have a team of leaders who present Celebrating God’s Grace – a joyful and instructive podcast about God’s grace in our world today. And, of course, you’ve happened on Walking in the Word, where we take a few minutes each Wednesday to open and study scripture together.
There is SO much going on at Women World Leaders! If you have been around the ministry for any length of time, you are likely aware that God continues to bring us writers who are eager to share their God stories. We are continually building and coaching teams to work together to write books filled with individual one-on-one encounters with and teachings from God. We are SO excited to announce that we have TWO new books soon to be PUBLISHED! So keep an eye out on social media and through our newsletter to find out how you can purchase these soon-to-be-released books! Also, we ask you to pray with us! By God’s grace, each of our previously-released books has hit best-seller status within days of their release, and we are praying for the same for each of these books — because the more books that sell, the more God’s glory will be revealed to our world!
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Let’s get to the teaching, shall we? As we dive into our walk through the Word, we continue learning from the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John verse by verse, asking God to show us what He wants us to learn from each step. Today our study comes from Luke 10:17-25. Before we begin, let’s pray.
Dear Most Holy God, we come to you today, first, seeking your forgiveness for the wrongs we have done. Father, we don’t want anything to impede the Holy Spirit’s power and wisdom within us as we seek to understand your Word. So we say we are sorry for the recent moments when we have offended you, and we thank you for your mercy. God – lead us today as we read and study your Word. Help us understand what you want us to know. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Last week, we studied Luke, chapter 10, verses 1-16. We saw Jesus send out 72 disciples in pairs to prepare the cities where He Himself would soon be going. He instructed the disciples that first, they were to pray for others to come alongside them as helpers, because there was much work to be done. Then He instructed them to be aware, because they wouldn’t always be walking into friendly territory. Jesus told them they shouldn’t take any money or provisions, instead trusting God’s provisions along the way. They were told that as they entered homes, they should declare God’s peace and not hesitate to accept hospitality. When they were welcomed, they were to heal the sick in God’s power and declare that the Kingdom of God had come. If it happened that they were not welcomed, they were to shake the dust from their feet and move on.
The 72 disciples were sent as ambassadors of Jesus Christ, with the power of Jesus Christ to heal and proclaim His name.
If you listened to last week’s podcast, you may remember that I gave you a charge – to go out and be an ambassador for Christ. I wonder how your week went? It’s always important for us to take a look at how we are doing – to hold ourselves accountable. One way to do that is to be involved in a group that cares about your walk with Jesus.
My favorite thing about Women World Leaders is that, through this ministry, God facilitates community, fellowship, and accountability. I am very much an introvert – I gotta’ tell you, I was just fine with the pandemic forcing me to work from home. So I understand if you are a person who doesn’t want to “get out there” – trust me, I do! But my commitment to my fellow sisters in this ministry helps me stay on the right track. Each time we meet, whether it be in a leaders connection, a writers’ meeting, a prayer Zoom, or any of the many other meetings that we have – that you are also invited to attend, by the way – I feel a resurgence in my spirit. And I’m reminded that despite the sins I commit, God still considers me His daughter, and, as His daughter, He has given me the gift of sisters who hold me up and hold me accountable. These ladies remind me daily of God’s glory working in and through this ministry and the world.
I believe that is how the 72 disciples who Jesus sent out felt. Because, though they each had a very individualized mission, they were not going it alone. They were part of a community of believers. And today, as we read forward in Luke, we get to peak in on the return of the 72 – what happened when they came together in community to share their individual experiences with their peeps?
Let’s begin reading in Luke 10:17 from the New Living Translation…
17 When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to him, “Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!”
I wish Luke had spent more than one sentence on this reunion! I love that they all returned together – I’m not even sure how God orchestrated that without cell phones. And I love their joy – even though they were probably dog-tired. I know when I return from a trip, I am spent. And I don’t ever have to walk to my called destination!
But these 72 were clearly energized by the fact that THEY were used by God! Have you ever been there? I sure hope so! The devil works hard to mask the miraculous that God does in and through us. That’s exactly WHY it is important for us to reflect on our days and weeks. Think about your prayers – who have you prayed for that God has healed? We tend to not think in those terms, but I assure you that God DOES hear you when you pray. And He does respond.
How have you seen God give His peace to someone dear to you in the last week? Is it possible He used YOUR words to bring a momentary smile to someone’s face? That’s being an ambassador. And I know there are plenty of ways we’ve affected others that we won’t even know about until we get to heaven. I know our magazine contributors and book authors pray for their readers all the time – that God would speak a word of encouragement, empowerment, comfort, or grace to the one who happens to be holding the writing in his or her hands. But we may never hear all those stories. And that’s okay, because we know that when we go for God, in God’s power, we can trust that He will use every word and every step and every bit of strength we muster to serve Him.
Though Luke doesn’t record too much of the celebration of the returning 72, he does record Jesus’ response.
18 “Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning!
This was the BEGINNING of Satan’s downfall on earth! That fight rages on even today, but the disciples won THAT battle – and Jesus celebrated with them. We have battles we walk into every day, too. But when we give ourselves fully to God’s plan, we can be assured that Satan falls far and fast – like lightning! Jesus continues…
19 Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you.
This is GOOD NEWS – it was for them, and it was for us. We, with the power of Jesus coursing through us, have the power to conquer evil in this world. The disciples had already seen this first-hand, but Jesus is now telling them that their power wouldn’t stop with that one mission trip, but was meant to be harnessed every day of their lives.
Carrying God’s power is both a blessing AND a responsibility. There is a job to be done on earth, and God has called you and me to do it. Jesus continues, saying that as exciting as all this is, it isn’t the best part. Verse 20…
20 But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.”
Cities of the day kept a book, a registry of their citizens’ names. Though we may live temporarily on earth, our true home is in God’s Kingdom. If you have given your life to Christ, YOUR name is registered in heaven. THAT is the true celebration.
And with that thought, Jesus broke into prayer…verse 21…
21 At that same time Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and he said, “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way.
22 “My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
Jesus praised and honored God the Father – who made a way for us ALL to understand the depths of His teachings no matter what education or background we have. Holy, unfathomable, righteous, omniscient, and omnipresent God Almighty sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to reveal to US His magnificent secrets and promises and power. I don’t know about you, but that is just TOO MUCH for me to even take in. I imagine the disciples with eyes wide and brimming with tears at the wonder of it all. But Jesus wasn’t done teaching them…verse 23…
23 Then when they were alone, he turned to the disciples and said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you have seen. 24 I tell you, many prophets and kings longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it.”
Jesus’ arrival on earth was heavily anticipated for a long time. Through the years, MANY prophesied of His coming. Many MORE believed and waited, yearning for His arrival. And these individuals, the 72, were honored to receive the blessing of serving Jesus’ as He walked in the flesh.
Since Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven, we have been waiting again. This time, for Jesus’ return. But we, too, are blessed beyond measure because we have been given so much – we have the Holy Bible—God’s own Word translated into hundreds of languages. We have teachers and preachers who have studied and taught and shed light on God’s teachings. And, most importantly, we have the gift of the Holy Spirit. When we submit our lives to Jesus Christ, we are infused with the Holy Spirit Himself, who comes to live within us, giving us full access to His power, joy, and wisdom. This is simply remarkable and should cause us to break out in our own song of praise and thanksgiving.
God sent Jesus. And Jesus called His disciples, revealing the glory of the Father, and sent them on a mission for Him. And He has done the same for us. We DO walk among snakes and scorpions—the path is not easy. And the more we learn, the more responsibility we are given. It’s essential to remember that we have God’s power in us, and as we walk, to stop and take notice of all God is doing in and through us. And we should never forget to celebrate with others—because God didn’t call us to walk alone. We all need each other – we were created to hold each other up and hold each other accountable. So let’s stand together in His presence! We are going to know each other for eternity, so we might as well start relying on each other in friendship now! Let’s pray.
Dear Most Holy God – what an amazing family you have called us to be part of! You have given us gifts and joyful responsibilities beyond our wildest imaginations. God, sometimes the road is tough, but you warned us of that in advance, and assured us of your power to overcome the world, Satan, and evil of every kind. God, we stand as your army, in your power, ready and willing to fight the good fight for you. Thank you for bringing us along for the ride. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.