1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. 5 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. 7 Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house. 8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town. 13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. 16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.” 17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” 18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” 21 At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.
After reminding us of the dead end alleys people journey down looking for joy, Jesus now reminds us of where to find real joy. Real joy is not found in the lures and the lies of this life but in the Lord. The first mention of joy comes at the end of the journey in verse 17 as the seventy two returned from their mission. “The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” We know they were excited at the end of their journey but I wonder how they felt on the front end? I’m sure at first they were not all that fired up about leaving their stuff to serve the Savior. I’m sure they didn’t want to traipse through dusty towns sharing truth and proclaiming peace knowing they would face persecution. But once they said yes to Jesus and join in the journey they experienced joy, once they obeyed the Lord’s command joy came. Once they just did what they were asked to do, then they found fulfillment. Joy is the product of obedience! Joy is not mentioned at the front end of the journey but on the back end of the journey, its on the return that we see the rejoicing. You don’t get joy first and then follow, joy comes after you join Jesus. How often do we hesitate to obey, how often do we hold back from Him and then wonder why we end up whining instead of winning. Today we want to experience the reward of obedience without the reality of obedience. It is here that we need to pay particular attention to the picture of joy that is painted. Their description of joy reveals the true reality of joy and what it’s based on. They didn’t come back bragging about what a great time they had and how everyone they met was so kind. They didn’t talk about how great the food or the folks were, no the seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” Their joy wasn’t in how great the journey was but in how great Jesus was. This was more than just spiritual success it was about spiritual authority which brings strength and security. But spiritual security comes when we walk in His Will, when we step out of the comfort and into the conflict. Spiritual security comes when we say yes to the Savior, when we take a risk and run with God. Are you carrying out Christ’s commands or are you caught up in self cares and chasing comfort? What they discovered was that joy is not found in pleasure or people but in the power of His name. Even the demons submitted, even the things we most fear will flee when we are willing to take the risk and do what is right. What an amazing thought that when you yield to Jesus demons are powerless to prevent you from pursuing His plan. You see when we serve the Savior, satan is forced to surrender. The problem is many of us are not experiencing spiritual victory over satan because we won’t submit to the Savior. Today we have settled for observing obedience in others, but when it comes to our lives we become busy obstructing obedience or try to go around it. We prefer to watch or whine about it when we are really called to walk in it. Why do we refuse to take the risk, why do we shy away from saying yes to the Savior, because we are afraid of failing. So we stick to what’s safe, we risk nothing, preferring a pathetic life instead of a powerful one. We stay in the comfortable and the familiar, attempt nothing bold, and that’s our demon. We postpone real discipleship; we put off doing what we know we are called to do. We chose the easy life, avoiding the engagement by giving in to the enemy. We walk the path of least resistance instead of resilience, choosing comfort over conflict. Instead of going to war we worry, defaulting to our demons we end up living the defeated life. We hide behind the pretense of power when we could be holding it. Instead of following Christ’s commands we give control to the enemy and forfeit our joy. The sent out servants returned with joy because they faced down their demons and found out that when you obey you overcome. That when we take a risk with the Redeemer, and respond to the call and command of Jesus there is joy. What is it that Jesus is calling you to do are you going to run from it or risk all because of it? If you want joy, wonderful joy, then take the risk of doing what Jesus asks. Obedience defeats the demons and delivers joy.