“Don’t rejoice because the spirits submit to you, rejoice because your name is written in the Book.” – Luke 10:20
It was a sermon on Power; our speaker was Justin Tse. I would recommend listening to the whole thing here as I’m just going to touch on the bit that clung to my mind and made me think. The context around the verse above speaks of the disciples getting sent out on their first missions trip. They come back to Jesus with exciting testimonies of the power they had in casting out demons and healing. And then Jesus said, “Don’t rejoice because the spirits submit to you, rejoice because your name is written in the Book.”
Rejoice because your name is written in the Book.
I feel like it’s the key secret to something that our Teachers have forgotten to tell us about. When we think of spiritual power, we think of putting on our armour and swinging spiritual swords that cut bone and marrow, and being courageous and going about things with all our heart, mind and strength. We’re going to absolutely crush Satan’s minions and any other enemy by the strength we have in Christ! Woohoo!!
But I’m not thinking about how my name is in the Book. That I am God’s.
Yet Jesus said THAT is what we’re to rejoice in.
Through Justin’s message, God was challenging me whether I focus on having the “power” to defeat Satan…rather than on loving and being loved by God. Jesus’ power wasn’t in overthrowing the Romans, but was in humbly submitting to the cross, in displaying compassion to broken people…and through that, He overcame the grip of death. His POWER was in submitting to DEATH. I know it’s usually said that His power was in overcoming death in resurrection….but I’m seeing that it really starts by submitting and trusting that being in God’s Book and being loved by Him is sufficient. Afterall, it’s in God’s kindness that we are led to repentence…He didn’t fight us to the ground in order to convince us of our sins (though I don’t doubt God can do that if He deems necessary. Take Saul/Paul’s conversion for example.) In turn we’re called to express that kind of “power” by living out humility, hospitality, graciousness and compassion.
If the Israelites had wanted Jesus to liberate them from the Romans, but Jesus did something far greater by libertating the world from the grips of sin, then maybe my prayers for “power” to overcome the negative/unfair/uncomfortable situations in my life are FAR TOO SMALL.
If we play into Satan’s type of “power”…trying to fight and win and gain…then we lose to him. I think of the Beatitudes. It’s not a power this world understands. It’s completely counter intuitive.
At the end of the message we were asked, “What do you pray for?“
What indeed. I thought of the times I asked for wisdom to know what to say to someone I was in disagreement with. Or the times I asked for strength to persevere through what seemed an unjust circumstance. Those are good things….but what if I prayed for a heart of compassion to know how to love them instead? What if my prayers were not about how to come out on top…but how I can lift someone up? My mind boggles.
I still haven’t sorted out my thoughts around this…but for now, I rejoice that my name is in the Book, and that I don’t have to understand fully.