Luke 10:20 Commentary - Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New TestamentIn these words of our Saviour there is something corrective, and something directive: the corrective part lies in the first words, wherein Christ checks the suspected excesses of their joy for victories gained over evil spirits: In this rejoice not: that is, let not your hearts too much overflow with joy upon this occasion. The negative is not absolute, but comparative only. Christ does not forbid, but only qualify and moderate their joy: That the spirits are subject to you, that is, the devils.
1. That though the evil angels by their fall have lost their happy condition, yet not their original constitution; their honor, but not their nature: they are spirits still.
2. The subjection of those evil spirits to the power of Christ, is not a free and professed, but an involuntary and imposed subjection, like that of a slave to his lord, whether he will or not.
1. That evil spirits are subject to the power of Christ! Not only to his personal, but to his ministerial power.
2. That it is matter of great joy to see evil spirits brought into subjection by the power of Christ. To see the evil spirit of pride and contention, of envy and malice, of error and falsehood, of jealousy and self-love, of animosity and division, not only chained but changed; to see not only an unwilling subjection, but a subjection of the will given to Christ; is matter of great joy and unspeakable rejoicing.
The directive part of our Saviour's words lies in the latter part of the verse: but rather rejoice that your names are written in heaven. There are no literal records in the court of heaven, no pen or ink, paper or parchment; but to be written in heaven, is to have a title to eternal life, and to be made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light.
Learn, 1. That God has in heaven a book of life; a book written with the golden rays and beams of his own eternal love.
2. That there are names written in this book.
3. That persons may know that their names are written in that book, otherwise they could not rejoice, for no man can rejoice at an unknown good.
4. That it is greater matter of joy and rejoicing to know that our names are written in heaven, than to have a power to cast out devils here on earth. A man may have power to cast forth devils out of others, and yet at the same time the devil may have power in and over himself: Therefore in this rejoice not, that the devils are subject unto you, but rather rejoice that your names are written in heaven.
If you say, with what spectacles shall we read that at such a distance? Who will ascend up into heaven to see whether his name be written there? Who can send a messenger there to search the records? I answer, turn your eyes inward: if the name of God be written in thy heart, thy name is certainly written in heaven: if you in your daily actions write out a copy of God's book (the blessed Bible) here below, assure yourselves the hand of God has written your names in his book above; that is, you shall certainly be saved.
Consult other comments:
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.