Advent 2022: Tue 20 Dec

Luke 10:1-2, 8-9, 17-20

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. 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. Go!

…When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’

…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.”

Jesus prepares a number of his followers to go into the places that are on his itinerary. He gives them detailed instructions about how they are to be deployed. This is covered essentially in the second paragraph above and it boils down to healing and preaching, and in that order.

The seventy-two also encountered demonic forces – when Kingdom principles are put into action there will be opposition. Demons are not some secondary order of spiritual being after angels, they are associate angels of Satan who fell along with him when he rebelled against God. As angels, they may be able to use the power they have to deceive. St Paul tells us that Satan can masquerade as an angel of light. There’s a YouTube channel I came across (I’ll not name it), that ascribes to angels the power to heal and to remove negative energy. This is not what the Bible teaches – it is a deception and a twisting of the truth about angels. The Bible also says that angel-worship is wrong.

Jesus talks of Satan falling from heaven. He might be referring to a historic event, or witnessing the damaging (for Satan) result of the work of the seventy-two under Jesus’ authority. He reminds us that superiority in spiritual warfare is not to be valued above securing a place in heaven.

Jesus was accused by some Pharisees of performing healing miracles under the authority of Satan (aka “Beelzebub”). We know that Jesus could really annoy the Pharisees, who were learned in the minutiae of the Law, but to suggest that Satan would want to authorise such things is a nonsense.

Are Satan and his associates aware that Jesus has won the victory? If so, why do they continue to lead the world astray?

What’s the right order – healing follows preaching, or preaching follows healing?

Father God, I pray for a clear understanding of what is right and what is errant or wrong. I want to turn to Jesus alone as the source of salvation and wholeness. Deliver me from evil. Amen.

A mighty fortress