Hello everybody and welcome in to episode 191 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Luke 10 today and our focus is on What Should Christians Rejoice About? Should We Rejoice About Exorcisms? We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in South Holland, Netherlands, Bavaria, Germany, Parts unknown, South Africa, Gujarat, India, Nova Scotia, Canada, Richmond, Virginia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
In Luke 10, Jesus sends out 72 of His followers – demonstrating quite clearly that His message of good news wasn’t just for the apostles to share, nor was it for named ministers and pastors to share, but all of His followers. Interestingly, that number of 72 seems to be quite significant, given that the Greek version of Genesis 10, which lists all of the original nations of the world, lists 72 nations. This mission that Jesus sends His followers out on is obviously a success, because they come back overjoyed – but what are they happy about – that people were saved, healed and delivered? Maybe, but the text tells us that they are marvelling that the demons and unclean spirits submitted to them, and Jesus, while not rebuking them for what they are rejoicing about, instead corrects them and tells them they should instead be rejoicing that they have been themselves saved. Why would Jesus correct them in this manner? Pastor Tim Keller has some pretty profound thoughts here that are especially important for Christians in 2021 to understand:
If you say, “Here’s how I know I’m somebody. People are listening to me. I’m having an impact …” Jesus is hinting that is not going to help the social fabric very much, because people who rejoice in their accomplishments, in their power, in their performance, in fact, people who rejoice in their ministry, people who say, “I’m somebody because I’m in ministry; I’m somebody because I’m helping people; I’m somebody because look at all of the people who are listening to me and look at all of the things I’m doing …”
He says, first of all, you’re going to be coercive and manipulative toward the people who are believing you, because they’re like your trophies. That’s how you know you’re somebody. And you are going to be death on the people who reject you, because when people reject you, they actually threaten your very ‘somebody-ness,’ your very value, who you are. When your self-image is based on your performance and your record and people don’t listen to you, you say things like we saw last week. “Lord, shall we call fire down from heaven on them, those unbelievers, those nasty people?”
This is the thing the world sees happening in people with absolute religious truth claims, and they are scared of it, and they have a right to be scared of it. They are repulsed by it, and they should be repulsed by it. Even Jesus begins to see it happening in this group of people. He says, “Rejoice not that you have all this power. Rejoice not in your gifts. Rejoice not in your performance. I have a better way. Rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” What does that mean?
Ancient people all believed that when judgment day came the books would be opened, and there in the books would be all of the things you’d ever done. If it was that your good deeds (this is how religion works) were sufficient, if your good deeds were preponderant, or something like that, we would write your name in the book of life. Jesus Christ says, “Let me tell you what the gospel is. The gospel is your name is already written down.” How could that be? Past tense? Your name is written? My life is not over yet. We haven’t found out how well they’re going to live.
Jesus says, “That’s what the gospel is. The gospel is don’t rejoice in what you do; rejoice in what you are in me. The gospel is you’re already in. You’re already accepted.” You know, you go to the restaurant that is the nicest, classiest restaurant in all of New York, and you can’t believe you’re going there. You walk up, and the maître d’ says, “Yes?” and you say, “I think my name is in the reservation.” He looks down and says, “Yes it is. Please come to your table.”
Jesus Christ says, “The door on which you have been knocking all of your life … In all of the beauty you’ve ever sought, this is the beauty you’re after. In all of the love you’ve ever sought, this is the love you’re after: heaven, God, welcome into the heart of things.” That door is guaranteed to be open to you…
If you’re rejoicing in being a great mother or a great father (you say, “That’s how I know I’m somebody”) or a great minister or a great social worker or a great anything, you’re helping people, then you’re going to find that when people don’t listen to you, you’re going to freak out. You’re going to try to manipulate them. Or if they reject you, you’re really going to get angry at them. Why? Because your very selfness is gone.
He says, “Don’t rejoice in what you’ve done. Then your self-image will be all over the place. Rejoice in who you are in me, and you are absolutely secure. You’re absolutely accepted. Your name has been written. It’s already there.”
Timothy J. Keller, The Timothy Keller Sermon Archive (New York City: Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2013).
Bible Memory verses for the month of July: 47 “I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. When the flood came, the river crashed against that house and couldn’t shake it, because it was well built.” Luke 6:47-48
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