Luke 10:17-20 (NIV) The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
When the seventy-two returned to Jesus after their mission trip, they were full of news. Each one wanted to tell Him about all that they had accomplished. They all had been given authority over evil spirits, just like Jesus had told them. But it is one thing to be told that you will be able to cast out a demon, and a totally different thing to actually find that you are able to do it!
Jesus was pleased that they had been faithful, including bravely standing up to demons, and He told them that He, too, had seen demons fall, even Satan himself. But even though they had been given that authority, even though they no longer had to fear attacks from evil spirits (symbolized here as snakes and scorpions) because of that authority, they needed to make sure that they didn’t get so distracted by sharing and comparing stories with each other that they missed the main point: none of this would be possible if it were not for the overarching truth that their names were written in heaven.
No mere human being can stand up to a demon in his or her own strength. That kind of authority has to come from God, and that authority will only be given to those who have received Jesus, and whose names are written in the book of life (Revelation 20:12-15). But if a person has been given that authority, we no longer have to be afraid of evil spirits, or even of Satan himself. Those evil beings no longer have any authority over our lives, and must flee whenever one of God’s people tell them to. There was never a battle, never a struggle when Jesus encountered a demon. When He said to leave, they left immediately. Even Satan had to leave immediately when Jesus commanded Him to go (Matthew 4:10-11). The same was true of the apostles: no battle, no struggle, just instant compliance by the demons. And the same can be true of us, too.
Father, outside of a few circles, very few of us have really been taught that we have that kind of authority and protection from You. But the promise and the evidence is all through Your word. Help me to walk in this truth today, secure in the knowledge that my name is written in heaven, and then confident of being able to walk in Your authority over all kinds of evil. Amen.