As we continue our journey through Luke’s gospel, we now find Jesus, on His way down to Jerusalem, sending out 70 disciples (in pairs), giving them power over unclean spirits and the power to heal sickness as they proclaim the coming of the kingdom of God. In addition, they were to specifically search out places throughout Judea where Jesus would be able to come and stay as He travelled ever closer to Jerusalem for His final showdown with the powers of darkness.
The towns and homes He would stay at had to be ‘sympathetic to the cause’, houses and families where the ‘fruit of peace’ was evident.
A short while later the 70 return having completed their mission, but full of joy and excitement because they had seen miracles take place as they had prayed for people! People had been healed, demons cast out, those bound were set free and the kingdom of God proclaimed!
We then have a remarkable verse: “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.” (Luke 10:21)
This clearly had bought great joy to Jesus’ heart. But why?
Quite simply, because Jesus had declared, back in Luke 4:18-19, that “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord”.
Jesus was now seeing the first signs of the harvest! All that Satan had caused to be corrupted at The Fall was now to be undone. Satan bought sin, sickness and death into this world. Jesus had publicly stated that He had come to reverse the effects of the fall and undo the damage that had been done, to ultimately bring man back into a right relationship with his Creator-God (for all who would accept His offer of eternal life and salvation). Jesus had started to show that He had the power to forgive sin and heal the sick (Luke 5:24) – undoing this joint-effect of The Fall, and would very soon (Luke 9:22) demonstrate His power over even death itself!
He had sent out the 12 disciples “and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick” (Luke 9:1-2). He had now sent out the 70, and at the end of Mark’s gospel this message of ‘restoration’ is committed to the Church: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16:15-18)
This is why Jesus was overjoyed! Satan’s hold over mankind, to inflict pain and suffering was coming to an end! God, who so loved the World was in the process of redeeming it! Can there be a greater cause for celebration?
Eventually, even this Earth will be wrested back from the hands of our defeated foe: “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” (Rev 11:15)