“The Eyes That See”
1. Any of us who ever wished that we could recognize the big, turning-point moments in our lives and know just what to do with them may benefit from the words of our text.
2. Obviously, Jesus saw this occasion as a hugely significant moment.
a. His response to their simple and honest report proves it (v. 18).
b. The fact that there is an emphasis on rejoicing highlights the importance he saw in these events (v. 21).
c. He engages in an exchange with the seventy-two, then with the Father, and then with the disciples privately (v. 17, 21, 23).
3. Jesus just as clearly understood, however, the human tendency to miss the point of, or to misunderstand the meaning of, crucial events than unfold right before us.
a. He repeatedly turns attention to what has been seen (v. 18, 23, 24).
b. He speaks of what was being revealed (v. 21, 22).
c. He was concerned with an important New Testament thought: whether we have “the eyes of our hearts” enlightened (Eph. 1:18; Heb. 10:32; 6:4).
4. The eyes that see view events in perspective, v. 17-20.
a. Their joyful report had an element to it that needed to be handled with some caution (v. 20).
i. It may be that there was too much emphasis on “even the demons are subject to us...”
ii. They had been sent to heal the sick and to tell them the kingdom of God had come near (v. 9).
iii. What they came back impressed with was that the demons were subject to them (even more than that the kingdom had come near?).
b. Jesus said that he indeed “saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven.”
i. He saw in their work–in the demons’ subjection to his name–the defeat of the ruler of those demons, Satan himself.
ii. The ruler of darkness had fallen from the heights of his power, and it had been as sudden and as obvious as lightening.
iii. It proved that Jesus had given his servants sufficient authority over the power of the enemy, and that nothing could hurt them while they were doing what he gave them to do (cf. Rom. 8:35f).
c. But notice that the Lord advised them to rejoice that their names are written in heaven more than that the spirits are subject to them.
i. When children were born their names were written on the official registry. It is said that the citizens of a town were enrolled in the book.
ii. Phil. 4:3; Heb. 12:23; Rev. 3:5
iii. Think of the common sense of this instruction.
(1) Rejoicing over the submission of a demon could not last.
(2) More importantly, what good would it be to rejoice over the fall of Satan if you are still on his side?
5. The eyes that see are humble enough to understand, v. 21-22.
a. Jesus was revealing the Father through these events.
i. His “Father” was also “Lord of heaven and earth.”
ii. His Father had handed things over to him, and was being made known through him as he could not be in any other way.
iii. But he was being revealed in keeping with his gracious will: the Father hides while he is making known!
(1) And this is not an isolated case of this principle.
(2) It happened as Jesus taught in parables (Matt. 13:13).
(3) It always happens as the cross of Christ is preached (1 Cor. 1:23f).
b. The most crucial things–the Father’s nature and character–were being hidden from “the wise and understanding.”
i. They represent the teachers and authorities who saw and heard it all as skeptics.
ii. Things are often hidden from the wise and understanding because they, in their pride, have questions and thoughts that are more important to them than what God is making known.
c. Those same things–who the Father is, and what his gracious will is–were being seen by “little children.”
i. Think of the humble faith with which the seventy-two had gone out and the simple joy with which they returned: that is humility.
ii. They recognized their dependence on him, were willing to trust what he said, and could go and do what he gave them to do.
iii. H. Leo Boles had this observation on God’s way of hiding while he is making known: “This result was not a mere arbitrary act of God; it follows a law of mind and of truth. People who refuse to see and accept spiritual truth gradually render themselves unable to understand it; those of little spiritual apprehension, mere babes in experience, yet willing to get and use what they can, gain more and more capacity to apprehend that kind of truth; thus it is hidden from the first and revealed unto the latter class.” (Commentary on Luke, 221)
6. The eyes that see appreciate the privilege they have, v. 23-24.
a. Jesus pronounced this beatitude on his disciples privately.
i. They were the ones who were most in a position to see these things happening.
ii. There was the danger of their not seeing because they were accustomed to what they were seeing.
iii. Jesus knew they would not be able to see for very long unless they appreciated the privilege they were being given.
b. Jesus reminded them that many great and powerful people wanted so badly to see what they were seeing and hear what they were hearing.
i. They “desired” but “did not” have the benefit of seeing and hearing these things that had been so long in preparation.
ii. Great prophets like Isaiah had only been able to speak of them; mighty kings like David had only been able to hear the promises.
iii. These disciples, though, were seeing and hearing as God made himself known and brought about his victory over all the forces of the evil one.
c. Last month’s Gospel Advocate mentioned Russell H. Conwell’s work from the end of the 19th Century, Acres of Diamonds....
7. The language our text uses ties this event in subject matter to Matthew 11:25-30.