I’ve been a Christian for a long time. I count 39 years. In that time, I’ve prayed for miraculous healing, asking God to remove cancer, take away brain tumors, and restore failing marriages. I’ve looked to him when I feel broken, confused and distraught. I have even asked for miraculous powers of healing that Jesus gave the disciples. Have you? Seriously, who hasn’t thought about how amazing it would be to cure cancer in an instant? In my mind, God could use such works as a powerful testimony. What a great way to build his church!
Today, in Luke 10:17-20, we see the apostles returning from their missionary journey. Prior to their journey, Jesus bestowed on them the miraculous healing powers that I have prayed for. They were wildly successful. How do we know? Because “The seventy-two returned with joy (v17).” They were celebrating. They were in awe over what had a happened, exclaiming that, “even the demons are subject to us.” Rightfully, they remained clear about the source of these powers, knowing that it was only possibly because it was “in Jesus name.” It sounds legit, doesn’t it? They have gone out faithfully, performing the work of Jesus exactly as he says. They were hugely successful. So, they did exactly what we all would do. Celebrate!
Jesus observed a shifting focus in their exuberance and quickly put a hold on the celebration. He decided it was time to pause and refocus the apostles’ joy. It was a simple reminder. He said, Hey, wait a minute. “Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, instead, rejoice that your names are written in heaven. (v20)”
Why did Jesus interrupt the party to remind the apostles of the gospel message? I see three reasons. First, focusing on redemption causes us to remember our brokenness, which points us directly toward the Savior. Second, when focused on redemption, we cannot escape the greatness of Jesus’ love and grace. Finally, redemption is not situational. Think about it. We can celebrate redemption anywhere and anytime. In the best of circumstances and in the worst. This is true no matter our mental or physical prowess or it’s frailty. It does not change with our emotions; it is always the same. Redemption is not about success or failure; it is about Jesus. It’s mystery and grandeur do not fade with the passing days. It is eternal. We get to receive it every minute, hour, day month, year. Forever.