Luke 10:17-24: Reasons for Rejoicing

The Christian life can be depressing at times. Ecclesiastes 1:18 gives us a reason why, ‘ For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.’ The more truth you have, the more you realize how bad things are, and that can be depressing. We can get depressed because of the internal love that we still have for sin and the way we continue to sin. We get depressed because we see so much suffering so much of it self-inflicted as people live without God. We are sad because the God we love is not worshipped and honoured. We get in the dumps when we experience the pains of a fallen creation, a fallen body, a fallen society, and a fallen government. But the Christian life is also a life of irresistible joy. It is to some of these joys that we turn as we watch the disciples return from their mission in Luke 10:17-24. Here we see not only the joy of the disciples but the joy of Jesus as well.

Ministry has its own set of sorrows. All Christians minister to others in some capacity and inevitably shoulders the various burdens of others. Joy becomes something that we need to sustain us, to keep our hopes up, to act as fuel for further service, for the joy of the Lord is our strength. ‘Studies show that joyful people have less chance of having a heart attack, maintain a healthier blood pressure, and tend to have lower cholesterol levels. There’s research to prove that joy boosts our immune systems, fights stress and pain, and improves our chance of living a longer life.’ Joyful people are nicer people, easier to live with and easier to work with. Joy puts on display the satisfaction we have in and from God and is a witness to God and His gospel. This section will teach us what to rejoice in when we are ministering.

Jesus we know is the man of sorrows. Jesus wept at Lazarus’s graveside, and over a hard Jerusalem. Jesus agonized in Gethsemane and on the cross. Luke 10:17-24 is the only recorded time in the gospels where Jesus is said to rejoice, v21. No doubt Jesus would have had a sense of humour, and been full of joy as He was full of the Spirit, but this is the only recorded time that Jesus rejoiced.

So as we look at this section we will look at it under three headings, joy in victory, joy in salvation, and joy in sovereignty.