We need to make sure we rejoice in the right things. Most all of us want to be “known”, but for what? In Luke 10 Jesus sent out 36 pairs of missionaries. Their job was to make preparations, to open doors. They were going ahead of Jesus, “to every town (v1) where he himself was about to go.” He told them, “the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few, pray the Lord of the Harvest to send workers into His Harvest. Now Go,”
It’s important that we know, who is sending; who we work for; that he is coming behind us; and that it’s HIS harvest.
There are plenty of good instructions here that Jesus gave them as they went. Their job was to proclaim peace and proclaim that the Kingdom of God has come near. He told them that if the people didn’t welcome them, STILL proclaim the Kingdom is near.
Now, I said that we all want to be known, but v13 we hear woe to Chorazin and Bethsaida. They were known, they got press, but it was for failing to Repent. And then Capernaum is also named for basically maintaining their destiny to Hades, instead of changing their path and becoming Kingdom Citizens – and Jesus says, whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me. This is the same warning of John 5:23 anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.
So the 72 went out, and obviously has an amazing experience though it isn’t recorded here, but in v17 they are coming back feeling like Wow this is amazing. ” they returned with Joy“, and here is where you expect them to talk about all those who responded in faith and expectation of the coming of Jesus. But instead, their testimony is, “even the demons submit to us, in your name”. Well, at least they gave the name of Jesus some credit, but they missed the point. Jesus says, “Look, I have given you authority to trample on snakes… scorpions… and over the power of the enemy, nothing will harm you… HOWEVER… You see – Rejoicing has a point, has a target. Worship, celebration, rejoicing, have a focus – His Name is Jesus! If I am rejoicing on what I DID, then I AM the object of the rejoicing. And Jesus says, “Don’t rejoice that the spirits submit to you, BUT rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Jeremiah 9:23-24 “This is what the Lord says, the wise should not boast in his wisdom… strength… wealth… boast in this, that he understands and knows me – that I am The LORD, showing faithful love, justice, righteousness on the earth, for I delight in THESE things, This is the Lord’s declaration.”
Rejoice in the Right Things
Then I was reading Malachi 3, oh I have read it before, but these verses never jumped out at me as they did in this context. 3:16 says, “those who feared the Lord spoke to one another. The Lord took notice and listened. So a book of remembrance was written before him for those who feared the Lord and had high regard for his name.” Wow! It was common for Kings to have books written, even of daily events. The king in Esther was having trouble sleeping and he had the daily books read to him. And so Malachi says, God has a book written about those who spoke to one another about their fear of and high regard for the Lord.
So, let me finish – There is a book, well, a few books in heaven, I guess in the Lord’s Office Library. There is the Lamb’s Book of Life – My Name is written there because I have received his grace by faith and been reborn, a new creation, a child of God. And then Psalm 56 tells me that there is a book where God records all of my misery, all of my tears, God takes notice, why, because he cares for me. God doesn’t always take away my struggles, but he notices, and he weeps with me, and one day I believe he will show me that book, perhaps when he wipes away every tear from my eyes. But then we see another book in Malachi 3. There is a book that God has caused to be written to record those who fear him, who have a high regard for his name. I want my name to be in that book too, in God’s Library. God notices. Then 3:17 says, “‘They will be mine’, says the Lord of Armies, ‘my own possession on the day I am preparing. I will have compassion on them as a man has compassion on his son who serves him. 18 So you again will see the difference… between the one who serves God and the one who does not serve him.’”
Is your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life? If you don’t know, believe on the name of Jesus, receive him as Lord (John 1:12) and you will be a child of God, your name will be written in the most important book in Eternity. And then one day, in Heaven, I believe we will get a chance to see our names in some other books, and see how much we matter to the LORD.
Rejoice in that – God sees, he knows, he cares