Luke 10:3, 17-18  Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. … … The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”  He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”
The Scriptures make such helpful use of the characteristics of members of the animal kingdom as a teaching tool that it seems that God designed it all as he did for this very purpose.  We don’t find it hard to ‘get the message’ from verses like Isaiah 53:6a, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way;” or to identify easily with Psalm 42:1, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God”.

The Apostle Peter was among the 72 to whom the words of today’s verses were spoken by Jesus, and he would later write: “Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8).  We should therefore not be surprised when we meet strong, active opposition to the Gospel we bring to a lost world.

And the two things we especially need to remember as we serve the Lord are these: firstly, that any opposition or persecution we face never takes our Sovereign Lord by surprise; and secondly, that the arch-enemy who is behind all this opposition is ALREADY DEFEATED, which is true no matter how hard he might try to discourage us and stop us from exercising our ministry.

What Jesus saw actually happening in the spiritual realm was quite different from what the 72 were experiencing at the same time in the physical realm.  Because of the reality of the spiritual realm we can expect the same thing to be happening today as we go about our work in obedience to Christ’s command.

I am very much a pessimist by nature, and I need to be reminded of this truth as often as possible so as not to be discouraged.  Perhaps this is why it comes out in so many passages throughout the Bible. You need to know that, in spite of my pessimism, I am encouraged by this truth – at least until the next time the Lord sees the need to encourage me yet again (I’m a slow learner)!
– Bruce Christian