Battling The Snake
Want to see pure joy and excitement? Go to your church when a team has just returned from a mission trip. What matches the thrill of Jesus’ power flowing through a group and seeing victory over the powers of darkness? Now that is more than a rush. And this joy is not new. When the 72 returned from their mission trip and reported to Jesus, they were bursting with pure joy. Even the demons had submitted to the name of Jesus.
“Now the 72 returned with joy saying, ‘Lord, even the demons submitted to us in Your Name.’ Then He said, ‘I was seeing Satan, like lightning, falling out of heaven. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, even upon all the powers of the enemy, and nothing will be able to harm you. Nevertheless, don’t be rejoicing because of this, but because your names stand written in heaven.” Luke 10:17-19
The skeptic seizes on Jesus’ statement about snakes and scorpions and then jumps to scenes of snake handlers in the woods of Kentucky to justify their rejection of Jesus. They need to read the text again.
Jesus does stress that He is able to protect His followers and He doesn’t’ shy away from indicating that He knows all about the ultimate conflict going on not only on earth but in heaven. Every good story has the main conflict and in God’s Story, it’s between Satan and the Great Promised Male Child. Check out Genesis 3:15 at the beginning of His Story. In Luke we are close to the climax of the Story when the serpent will strike Jesus on the cross.
On the other hand, before we put all the stress on exorcisms, spiritual warfare, and start being presumptuous around snakes and scorpions, we need to catch Jesus’ emphasis. It’s not the joy of casting out a demon or not dying from snakebite that needs to be our center of attention. Instead, pure joy is to know our names are written down in glory. The old song got it right.
There’s a new name written down in glory,
And it’s mine, O yes, it’s mine!
And the white robed angels sing the story,
A sinner has come home.
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