Luke 10:17-24 Reflection: The 72 Disciples Return with Joy

A reading from the gospel according to Luke 10:17-24

17 The seventy-two disciples returned rejoicing and said to Jesus, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.”
18 Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky.
19 Behold, I have given you the power ‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you.
20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”
21 At that very moment he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”
23 Turning to the disciples in private he said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.
24 For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

Gospel Reflection: The Return of the 72 Disciples

There is power in the name of Jesus. Verse 17 relates how the disciples invoked the name of Jesus to cast away demons.. Jesus Himself observed how Satan fell like lightning from the sky. He also adds that the disciples can tread upon serpents and nothing will harm them. Such is the power of Jesus. He is indeed the almighty Son of God. The enemy is defeated just by the mention of His name.

The disciples rejoiced at the success of their first missionary task and Jesus rejoiced with them. In fact, He was ecstatic that His disciples, simple people as they were, were imbued with spiritual power which is withheld from the wealthy and well-educated people.

Yet, Jesus was quick to caution His disciples from rejoicing that they received spiritual power. This is to say that His disciples should never gloat and become big-headed or conceited but instead to remain humble. They should rather rejoice because their names are written in heaven. This is their greatest reward – eternal life.

Indeed, people who are called and sent by the Lord will be inspired and strengthened with the power of the Holy Spirit. They will never be abandoned or neglected. In Matthew 28:20, Jesus promised to be with His people until the end of time.

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