Scripture Note.

Luke 10:17-19.

The mission of the seventy follows upon, as that of the twelve preceded, the transfiguration; and it brings out very distinctly the rejection of the Lord in the midst of Israel, and the consequent postponement of the establishment of the kingdom which had "come nigh" to His people in His own glorious Person, and in the power displayed through the seventy as His messengers. They returned to their Master with joy, saying, "Lord, even the devils are subject to us through Thy name." This gave occasion to the Lord to reveal that the power He had delegated to them was but an earnest of the final expulsion of Satan from heaven (see Revelation 12) and his complete overthrow; and, moreover, He, in anticipation of this, invested them with power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. But they were not to rejoice in that the spirits were subject unto them, but they were to rejoice rather because their names were written in heaven. A twofold application may be made from this instruction. The first is the obvious one - and one which is characteristic of this Gospel - that heavenly things could only be revealed consequent upon the rejection of Christ, and that to have part in these, through the sovereignty of grace, was to enjoy a portion far transcending that of being messengers of the kingdom, and, as such, depositaries of the powers of the world to come. It is, in fact, that better thing which God has provided for believers of this period, and which will be possessed by those who are identified with Christ in His rejection. The second lesson is that it is a far higher thing to be the objects of God's sovereign grace, to be linked with His eternal purposes, than to be the vessels of His power in service. And yet how the servant is tempted to rejoice when he is taken up as a channel for the power of the Holy Ghost! But we may learn from these words of our blessed Lord that the time when a servant is most used is the time when he should be most hidden; and it will be so in proportion as he is impressed with the magnitude of the grace which chose him in Christ before the foundation of the world. This may, and should, fill his heart with overflowing joy in the presence of God.