If you’d like to join us in our journey reading all the way through the Bible this year, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll be glad to email back a copy of the reading plan we are using.
I remember when my daughter was still very tiny. Her 2nd and 3rd Christmases. It was with her as it is with others of that age, that when presented with a gift, the real joy and fun was in attacking the wrapping.
The brightly colored paper and the act of ripping and tearing with abandon gave far more joy than discovering whatever was in the box. And then, she got older. And the more mature she got, the less interested in the wrapping she became, and the more focused on the gift. And then it went further – for it was the thought of who had given out of love that transcended either the wrapping or the gift. That is the progression of maturity. And it applies spiritually as well.
We’ll talk about that some today on Through the Word in 2020. I’m Reid Ferguson.
1 Timothy 3:1–7; Luke 10:17–24; Nehemiah 10:28–12:43 are before us today. And it is the report of the return of the 72 Jesus sent before Him to heal and preach the coming of the Kingdom that holds a vital lesson in maturity for Believers.
When this group ended their assignment and came back to Jesus, they were excited. Specifically, they were just over the top recounting how even the demonic spirits were subject to them in Jesus’ name.
And I don’t want to overlook the miraculous nature of that. Jesus Himself says in effect – “yeah, while you were doing that, I saw Satan himself being brought down.” It was a big deal! They were rightly amazed.
Nevertheless – Jesus begins in vs. 20 I don’t want you to be overly impressed by that. It is good and right and yes supernatural and miraculous. And yet there are some things which are to be regarded as even more wonderful than any such experiences – it is the knowledge that our names are written in Heaven. This truly deserves our awe.
3 things here to note.
First, we can be so fascinated by things supernatural and miraculous, that we can forget they are not the stuff of salvation itself. Sadly, there are many in the Church today who are enamored with signs and wonders, who forget that these are signs – not the gift itself. They are the wrapping paper that signifies something more. Maturity should move us past the wrapping. As we grow in Christ, we ought to be looking beyond the outward – no matter how spectacular.
Second, as with the disciples in this passage, so caught up with the outward wonder, we can place less value on the gift itself. “Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you” Jesus says. “Rejoice that your names are written in Heaven!”
Far more important, of inestimable value above any miracle of supernatural wonder – is that the names of redeemed sinners are written in the Lamb’s Book of life as His eternal family. This is the gift behind the wrapping. And there is no comparison between the two.
Now that is something to really contemplate. That when these two are placed side by side, miracles next to our names written in Heaven, miracles aren’t even remotely on the same scale. And maybe, we need to mature a bit here so as to begin to truly value and appreciate what the real gift is.
Lastly, we must look even beyond both of those to Whom it is that has written our names there. It is none but Christ Himself. And our names are written in His blood. This transcends all. That He so loved us, to give His life for us, that we might be registered as His for all eternity.
Oh that we would truly value the Giver above any gift – and lavish in Him.
Meditate on that a bit today beloved.
God willing, we’ll be back tomorrow.