Luke 10:17 Commentary - Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New TestamentObserve here, 1. The seventy disciples return to give Christ an account of the success of their expedition. They return as victors with joy and triumph, showing Christ the trophies of their conquest: Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name; the weapons of their warfare were not carnal but spiritual, and mighty through Christ; the powers of darkness cannot stand, but must fall before the power of Christ; the devils are no match for Christ, no, not for the meanest of the ministers of Christ, who go forth in his name, armed with his authority and power.
Observe, 2. Our Saviour's reply to the seventy disciples upon this occasion: I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven; a twofold interpretation is given of these words; some look upon them as a secret rebuke given by our Saviour to the seventy for that excess of joy, and mixture of vain-glory, which was found with them, upon the account of those extraordinary gifts and abilities of casting out devils, and healing diseases, which were conferred upon them.
I beheld Satan, says Christ, falling like lightning from heaven; as if Christ had said, "Take heed of being puffed up with pride, upon the account of those endowments which I have bestowed upon you: remember, Lucifer, the prince of pride, how he fell from heaven by his arrogancy, and labor you to ascend thither by humility."
The words in this sense afford this instruction;
1. That those whom Christ has bestowed the greatest measure of spiritual graces, ministerial gifts, and temporal blessings upon, ought to be very watchful against that hateful sin of pride, which has ruined and destroyed so many thousands of angels and men.
2. Some understand this fall of Satan not literally, but figuratively and mystically, of his ruin by the power and preaching of the gospel; as if Christ had said, "I know that this is no vain boast of yours, nor brag of your value, that devils are conquered by your courage; for when I first sent you forth to preach the gospel, and armed you with divine power, I easily foresaw that the devil's kingdom would shake about his ears, and that his power would be ruined by the power of the gospel, and that wherever you preached, Satan's strength and power would vanish like a flash of lightning, suddenly and irrecoverably."
Learn hence, that the powerful and efficacious preaching of the gospel is the special means ordained and appointed by Christ for the ruin and subversion of Satan's kingdom in the world: as the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to them that believe and obey it, so it is the power of God unto destruction to Satan, and all that fight under his banner against it.
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Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament
William Burkitt (1650 - 1703) was a Church of England clergyman, bible expositor, and devotional writer.
Volume 1: Matthew - John, was published in 1700.
Volume 2: Acts - Revelation was published 1703.