Amidst Wolves: The Disciple's Journey in Matthew 10:16a

Matt. 10:16a   Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves…

This is an incredible passage of scripture!  In verse one, Christ gives His disciples unprecedented power to not only cast out unclean spirits, but to heal all manner of sickness and disease, as well as the ability to walk by faith, trusting God for all of their provisions as they went and ministered.  They weren’t even given the luxury of packing their bags; they were just told to go.  And they did!

Later you can read of their success on their mission, but what I want to point out is this; though they had all of this power with God, yet Jesus gives them this stern warning in verse sixteen, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves…”  Then in verse seventeen He stresses the point by saying, “…beware of men…”  In other words, all of God’s favor, power, and provisions still did not make His disciples immune to trouble!  Sometimes we think that when we’re really in God’s perfect will, everything will work out just fine, and then we’re shocked when it doesn’t!

Truth is, when you’re sent out by our Lord on a mission to share His love with the world, He is sending you into hostile territory!  He gives us fair warning here in our text.  He also advises us on how to minimize the damage by instructing us to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”  We’re going to get bitten by wolves enough without grabbing them by the ears and making them angry!

Even when you are kind to people, sometimes they will still turn on you (just like they did to Jesus), because if their nature hasn’t been changed by the power of the gospel yet, then a wolf is going to be a wolf, no matter how you treat him!  So, we are to walk with wisdom.  Now, let’s notice one more thing; Jesus said that men would deliver them up to the councils, and scourge them in the synagogues, but said that they need not take a thought on how or what they shall speak, “for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.”

In other words, you can win, even with a wolf bite!  You may be “wolf-bitten” and feel like you are about to bleed to death, but the key to your victory is knowing that “it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.”  Do not listen to what men have said, nor what they are saying; listen to and speak only what God has spoken, and you will survive the wolf bite!

~ Pastor Gary Caudill

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