The Main Thing

The Main Thing January 10, 2023


Genesis, chapters 25-26; Psalm 6; Luke, chapter 10

Luke 10:16-20 (NLT):

Then he said to the disciples, “Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting me. And anyone who rejects you is rejecting me. And anyone who rejects me is rejecting God, who sent me.”

When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to him, “Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!”

“Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning! Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.”


In the first part of Luke 10, Jesus commissions a group of seventy-two followers to go proclaim the Kingdom of God.  He sends them out “as lambs among wolves” (v 3) – a metaphor which illustrates that there are enemies awaiting them. Lambs do not have the capacity to fight; wolves do. Wolves kill lambs and eat them! Jesus must know something more; he’s not sending them out for the wolves to kill.

That “something more” is that the power of God goes with Jesus’ followers. They are not to trust in their own resources or their own strength; they are to trust God. That’s the point of Jesus’ statement in verse 16.  This comes at the end of Jesus’ commission to the seventy-two, but at the beginning of the passage I’ve set out above. They did not go in their own strength, nor in their own name. Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting me.  He goes on to make the connection that those who reject his disciples reject him. Those who reject him reject God; the implied conclusion is that God will deal with those who reject Him.

“The Demons Obey Us!”

Well, the disciples come back, and they joyfully reported to him.  What are they so happy about? Even the demons obey us when we use your name!  Now, that’s seems logical to us, right? They went in Jesus’ name, proclaiming his message, and even the demons obeyed.

But there are a couple of dangers there that we need to recognize.  First, they rejoiced that even the demons obey us.  “Obey.”  The demons obeyed because of Jesus’ authority, not because of the disciples. Now, I’m sure they understood that – but the rush of excitement from having the demons obey them could have turned their heads and made them forget about what is really important.  I believe that’s why Jesus said, “Don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you.”  He sent them out with authority; they needed to learn to work in that authority without allowing it to go to their heads.

The Main Thing

That brings me to the second danger: forgetting what our mission is.  The mission for the seventy-two was: “Heal the sick, and tell them, ‘The Kingdom of God is near you now.’” In other words, they were supposed to do exactly what Jesus did. From the beginning, Jesus’ message was, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is near.”  The healings, the exorcisms, the miracles – all of those were to demonstrate that God’s Kingdom was in fact near.

The key to God’s Kingdom was to repent – acknowledge our sins and accept God’s offer of salvation. That’s what the disciples were commissioned to proclaim.  That’s why Jesus told them at the end of the passage not to rejoice because the demons obeyed them, but to rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.  If our names aren’t written in heaven, no amount of “authority” over demons will save us.

There were exorcists in Jesus’ day who demonstrated some authority over demons; that didn’t automatically make them Kingdom citizens. That’s why Jesus tells his disciples not to get caught up in power and authority. The main thing is citizenship in God’s Kingdom!  Without that, nothing else that we do matters.


It’s hard for us to imaging that someone could have authority over demons and not be part of God’s Kingdom, but Scripture makes it clear that it’s possible. Just as Satan has authority in this world for a time, so individuals might have authority over demons for a time. If Satan believes that it enhances his overall aim – “to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10) – he is willing to “give a little to gain a lot.”  Acts 8 tells us about Simon the sorcerer, who had done miracles and “astounded them with his magic.”  But his power and authority clearly did not come from being part of God’s Kingdom!

The main thing is that we be part of God’s Kingdom – that our names are registered in heaven. If they are, and we trust in God and his power and authority, he can use us as he chooses. What’s important is not the that demons obey us, but that they have no power over us. I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy – to protect us spiritually, and to enable us to do the work of the Kingdom.  That’s the main thing!


Father, thank you for reminding us that what is important is that our names are written in heaven.  That’s what enables us to call you “Father!” When we remember that you are our Father, we can walk in confidence, knowing that you will lead us in your way. Satan is a defeated enemy; he cannot overcome us unless we allow him to do so. As long as our trust is in you and your power, we can rejoice!  Satan fell from heaven like lightning, and nothing he can do will give him power to overcome your Kingdom!  Help us today to walk in faith, because our names are written in heaven.  Amen.


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