The Mission of 70 - sent out into the region as a moral preparation for His coming - a symbolic representation of the continuing mission of the church - the whole church going before the Lord (contrasted with the apostolic foundation of the sending of the 12)
The passage tells of the joy of the 70 as they returned from a very successful campaign of outreach (review sermon 50821 - go, I am sending you out] - the results exceeded their expectations; their faith had gone beyond the letter of Jesus' instructions to heal the sick and preach in preparation of Jesus' coming. They made the discovery of the power of faith in the casting out of demons - as their faith grew - they discovered how great the power of His name was. Greater than demons ... greater than the prince of darkness. - "even the demons" - Power of Gospel to deliver people from sin, to heal and restore - the casting out of demons most of all made an impression them
The redeeming and healing power of the Gospel when it is preached: Rom 1:16; 1 Cor 1:17ff; 1 Thess 1:5 they took it at face value - jesus shows it is potentially much much more - Disciple's response in experiencing that power: Joy!!! discovering there is more there than we see - Jesus' strategic perspective! As they were casting out satan's servants, Christ was contemplating the fall of Satan himself.
Jesus' response to their joy moved from particular to general - Gospel proclaimed to overthrow the kingdom of Satan over mankind Christ and Satan - the battle begun in Eden - waged in the wilderness - (Rev 20? Isa 14?) the picture of satan fallen like lightning from heaven to earth: pride - lost - loose on earth. from the seat of power and of worship; the strong man bound ("like lightning in it's rapidity, dazzling splendor and destructiveness" Luke 11: binding the strong man)
Discovery of the fuller spiritual nature of the ministry. (It is only when the work of Jesus is seen in terms of a powerful overthrowing of demonic forms that the true spiritual dimensions of his mission can be grasped) Not a matter of temporal healing and social actions, eternal issues in view here - hence Jesus' remarks in verse 20. the work of reformation.
Taking on the foe on his turf: where do we encounter snakes and scorpions? .
stepping on snakes[Num 21; Jere 8:17; Matt 23:33; 1 Cor 10:9; Rev 9:19)
and scorpions(cf Rev 9:5ff Deut 8:15; 1 Kings 12:11ff [2 Chron10] Ezek 2:6))
- Visualized as His "kingdom" - but under God's rule (word studies)
figurative language also - "the poison of sin, the sting of death"
"Trampling - Stepping" - the idea of going forth, being sent "go, I am sending you as lambs among wolves" Rom 16:20 "The God of peace will soon crush satan under your feet"
Taking on the foe and overcoming him (vss 18-19)- Satan's power broken - Speaking symbolically Jn 12:31; As Christ sees (contemplates ) it: Satan is fallen (Aorist tense) as The disciples saw it, only the demons were cast out - the fight is continuing though the war is won - Satan is still someone to fear and take seriously: 1 Pet 5:8, 1Jn 3:8; John 8:44; 2 Cor 4:4, 2:11, 11:14; Matt 13:38; Eph 6:12; 2 Th 2:9 But he has no power over God's people - no threat, no weapon, no sting.
Nothing will harm you - cf john 10:27-28; Rom 8:28-39 Courage to take him on at all costs - even death!
Luthor at Worms(1521) :"Huss was burnt, but not the truth with him; I will go, though as many devils took aim at me as there are tiles on the roofs of the houses"
Contrast = Satan fell from heaven - our names are written down there! he fell because of pride and ambition we could be tempted too by the power - Simon Magnus 'contrast in names - power of Gospel not ours!!
But rejoice that your names are written in heaven. the buttress of our faith
metaphor - names written in heaven : reckoned by God as sons and heirs. written - perfect tense - "i.e. engraven" Satan has no power or authority in heaven (He's fallen from it) nor over us - though he pretends
He could have told them to rejoice in being born anew by God's spirit, to be new creatures in Christ, illuminated by the hope of salvation and possessing the seal of it. But He wishes them to observe the beginning from which these blessings flow, the free election of God, lest they should ascribe anything to themselves. True, His blessings, which we feel in ourselves, give us matter for praising God, but eternal election, which is outside ourselves, demonstrates more clearly that our salvation is grounded in the sheer goodness of God. Calvin the beginning of it all is God's choosing of us something beyond us - God's work of Salvation....... our assurance of victory - the foundation of our rejoicing