However do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. Luke 20:20 (NIV)
We hosted a Cup of Joy Retreat once that centered on Jesus nailing our sins to the cross. That Saturday, I was walking to my room when I saw a precious girl with her hands lifted high and loudly saying, “I GET IT, I GET IT!” As she approached me, she asked, “Are you telling me that Jesus who knew no sin took my sin?” Her hands were shaking as she looked at me and stated the truth again: “Jesus who knew no sin, took my sin; and I don’t even know what to say to Jesus!”
I wish we all could go back to the day when knowing Jesus took our sin was the greatest news we had ever heard. I doubt we would be complaining over the things we grumble about today. My heart aches for the excitement I felt when I first learned that I’m forgiven because Jesus paid the debt for my sin! I reflect back to the time before I began biblical training, taught Bible studies, planned retreats and wrote devotions and long for the excitement over the one truth that set me free: I’m forgiven!
When was the last time you wept over your sins as you realized your sin nailed Jesus to the cross? When was the last time you told Jesus if He did nothing else for you, the cross was enough? I don’t know about you, but today I need to thank Jesus for being willing to go to the cross and take my sin! If Jesus never answers another prayer request, I will continue to thank Him. Because of the cross, I can bow before His throne.
I’m thankful Jesus died for me, but I still have ongoing prayer requests. I need Jesus to show me His power and His presence in my daily life! Because of the cross, I have the privilege to ask Him for miracles and to call upon His name to work in the lives of my family and friends. I believe Jesus wants me to talk with Him about any concerns I have each day. I also believe that maybe I should start by reflecting upon what He has already done before I ask Him for something.
Jesus certainly died so that we would not be condemned. And I don’t think He desires for us to live in condemnation because we lost the excitement of feeling forgiven. On the other hand, Jesus desires for us to remember what He has done. We can do that by accepting His forgiveness and walking everyday in the assurance that He loves us enough to die for us. Given what He has already done, would He withhold anything good from us? I don’t think so!
His willingness to go the cross speaks loudly of His desire to show us His love. Scripture says often that we need to “remember” what God has done so that we will not grow weary. It can be difficult to not become discouraged because we have so much “need” in our lives. It can also be difficult to rejoice over all that Jesus has already done for us because we “need” a miracle now! Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to us”. (Matthew 6:33) Matthew 7:9-11 says, “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” How much more must Jesus do to show us He is good and that He wants only what is best for us?
Many mornings I sit in my study and look at a cross hanging on my wall and think, “Jesus, thank you!” At this very moment, there are things in my life I want and need God to change, and no one knows the details of my heart more than He does. But until God deals with these issues, I’m going to look at the cross and remember His love and His willingness to “give” me life in Him. When I look at Him, I am able to sense Him saying, “There is nothing good that I will withhold from you, trust me! What do you need?”
Jesus was talking to His disciples about their ability to cast out demons and as they were rejoicing about their ability to do so, He said “however, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your name is written in heaven”. In other words, don’t rejoice in the ability you have to accomplish all God has called you to do, but rejoice that He provided a way for you to go to heaven. I think back on the sweet girl from the retreat who discovered that her sins were forgiven. She was rejoicing over what Jesus had done rather than rejoicing about anything He had given her. Remember that she was unsure of what to say to Jesus. If you are like her and don’t know what to say, I have a suggestion. How about,“Thank You!?”
Further Reading Luke 20:1-20; Matthew 6:33; Matthew 7:33; Acts 13:38