In what do we rejoice – Miracles or Salvation?

Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:17-20 NKJV)

The great majority of false prophets point us to miracles, supposed or manufactured, and declare themselves of God, rejoicing in the fact – and insisting this as a sign of ministry – that somehow it appears that they, like Tylenol, have stopped a headache.

When Christ sent the Seventy, He sent them out with expressed instructions to spread the news of the Kingdom, but to carry nothing with them – there were to take only what one would give, but not to beg or seek subsistence. They would be supported by the wages from God.

In the above passage, the Seventy returns and instead of singing the success of the Kingdom, they praised their own power. Christ rebukes them in no uncertain terms – He has power over the adversary and He was the one what gave the authority. The power to do these things is Christ’s alone – but He gives it in certain circumstances to further the Kingdom. We not rejoice in this – not in all the seas parted, the giants felled, the lepers cleansed, the blind made to see – no, we rejoice in on fact alone, that our name is written in heaven.

Paul says,

We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us–a sphere which especially includes you. For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ; not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment. But “he who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends. (2 Corinthians 10:13-18 NKJV)


But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 6:14 NKJV)

We do boast anything of ourselves, but only in the glory of the Cross, but it is only by the cross of Christ that we may find our names written in heaven.

Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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