The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons
are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan
fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority
to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the
enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in
this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names
are written in heaven.”
In that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank
you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these
things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little
children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. (Luke 10:17-21)
Jesus calls the seventy-two disciples, children. These are the ones who return rejoicing from a trip where they experienced power and authority over demons and miraculous healings. They went out with no money, no baggage, and no extra shoes. They became totally vulnerable and dependent on others. Jesus instructed them to stay focused and keep their eyes on the purpose of their trip. Among them were children (the disciples) who left fishing and tax collecting businesses. At least one was a political anarchist, another a thief. Just before going on this trip, they argued about who was greatest! Children! Please!
These disciples were children with their own unique life experiences, joys, and disappointments. When they came back rejoicing, Jesus rejoices with them. He thanks his Father that hidden things were revealed to babes. Revealed to those who were of callous qualities and abilities. Their family and education were not impressive. They were children in understanding. But God, by his Spirit, elevated their abilities. He gave them knowledge and an ability to communicate that knowledge and experience according to His gracious will.
Young and old, these disciples, who Jesus calls ‘children’ make a difference in the places they are sent. They make a difference because they know and love their Lord. While they are on mission, they learn trusting obedience to their Lord. Jesus spoke of children in another context. He said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Like those young children, we are a part of that amazing kingdom of heaven and trust and rely on our Lord as well.
Disciples of Christ must be as compliant and innocent as little children. As such, we must be eager to please our heavenly Father. He wants and even desires to reveal hidden spiritual things to the children with whom He rejoices!