The Chief End of Man
We continue Jesus’ instructions to the seventy-two other disciples that he sent to cities that he would visit before his passion. In a way, their task was like that of John the Baptist in that they were to prepare these cities for the coming of Jesus. The same could be said for us as we are to prepare and thereby warn the world of the second coming of our Lord through witness and godly living.
But after telling these disciples to wipe the dust off their feet of those cities that refused their witness, Jesus then names specific cities that had not repented at his preaching despite the mighty works he had done there, which reminds us again that the mighty works of Jesus are first and foremost signs and proofs of who he is that we might repent, and not just miracles at which we may gawk. He names cities which he had visited: Chorazin, Bethsaida, and above all, Capernaum, where he ministered to God’s people. Even pagan cities such as Tyre and Sidon would have repented, even Sodom! Sometimes we just don’t realize how relaxed and casual we are when we hear God’s word. And, as in the Gospel of John, we have the same recurring theme, “The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects Him who sent me” (italics added).
The verses which immediately follow obviously skip some time; Scripture does this on occasion (e.g., Luke 24:50-53 skip the forty days before the ascension). But the seventy-two return saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” That’s worth getting excited about. And then Jesus tells them why: He had given them authority over “serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.” And because of our Lord’s coming, his binding of Satan (Mark 3:27), and the gift of the Holy Spirit whereby he has given us authority over the devil and his schemes, Jesus beheld “Satan fall like lightening from heaven,” as the kingdom of our ancient foe was crumbling to dust under our Champion’s banner. And as wonderful as the defeat of him who held mankind under his demonic dominion – and still holds millions today – even this does not compare to having our names written in heaven. The defeat of Satan is not the goal; it is the means. The goal is residing in the kingdom of heaven, worshiping our Lord, the One who has made us for Himself. The chief end of man is to know God and enjoy Him forever, to glorify His name forever, to finally find ourselves in and with Him.