Sent to the wolves!03/24/16 09:20:pm
We can all agree that God is a sending God. He constantly draws people close, and then sends them out. This is a process seen all throughout the Gospels. When Jesus would send His followers out, He would give them clear and precise guidance. Matthew 10 is a great example. Jesus gives the twelve the authority to drive out demons and heal the sick in verse 1. In verse 7, He tells them what message to proclaim. In verses 5-15, He gives them instructions about their upcoming journey.
Jesus’ instructions are often very challenging, but there is one verse in Matthew 10, that is lost on us in today’s society. ,The first part of Matthew 10:16 states, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.” At this moment, Jesus gave His followers an identity of sheep. He also identified those that they would meet in the world as wolves. We all know what generally happens when sheep encounter wolves. Regardless, Jesus wants His followers to understand who they are in this world and from what perspective it is to be viewed.
Jesus never asked His sheep to behave like wolves, nor did He ever say to stay safely in the pasture fence, surrounding yourself only with other sheep. In fact, if you continue to read chapter 10, you see that Jesus promises some pretty grim things that are all forms of persecution. He didn’t say that persecution was a possibility—He said it was a certainty. What were the responses of His followers after hearing these words? It wasn’t, “I never signed up for this.” Or, “I’ve served my time, it’s someone else turn.” They didn’t say, “We will come back for this later, but we have too much on our plate right now, Jesus.” No, they had committed to following Jesus no matter the cost. They set out to do everything Jesus had told them to do and everything He said came true. The sheep were true to their nature, as were the wolves.
So what does this have to do with us today? Simple, let’s think about the words of our good friend Paul in 2 Cor. 13:5, “examine yourselves.” Have you ignored Matthew 10? Are you actively among wolves, or have you been safe on the farm, far from the fear or reaches of any wolves? If we are truly living out the Word of God as followers, being sent out and being persecuted are guaranteed things. If we aren’t seeing any persecution, maybe we aren’t among wolves. It’s time for the American Church to get out of its comfortable building and do what God has called us to do. The sheep are quickly becoming outnumbered because they have stayed within the confines of their pens for too long. Will you join me outside of the pen among the wolves?