Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. (Luke 10:20 ESV)
One of the many attractive things about following Jesus is the marvellous signs he performed in the presence of the people. To then commission 36 pairs of people to likewise go into various places and be able to perform similar things as they proclaim the good news of the Kingdom must have been extraordinary for those people.
Gifts, abilities and talents understandably grab people’s attention. When someone does something that makes you go wow, that understandably draws attention both to the gift and to the person using it. This fascination can be taken to such a degree that people get hung up on that to the disregard of virtually everything else. So a person’s abilities will allow them to be remembered even if their character was tainted and their relationships seriously flawed.
Jesus is delighted that his disciples have been so faithful in carrying out their commission. The good news they share on their return gives him an opportunity to point to the one thing that’s worth rejoicing over. Not that they can do the things, but that their names are written in heaven – that’s to say God recognises them – God relates and connects and calls them His own. That acknowledgement is worth pondering on – belonging is more important than performing. Performing effectively flows from belonging.
How can that reassurance be exercised and expressed today?
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden