“Go now, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves.” - Luke 10:3
In the professional sports world we have the Bears, the Lions, the Jaguars, the Rams—but never the Squirrels or the Lambs. There is something muscular, aggressive, and intimidating about the former—those names command respect. But a sports team named the Squirrels or the Lambs would generate pity and concern and laughter.
The people of Jesus’ time weren’t into professional sports, but they still had an aggressive side and did not hesitate to impose their wills, like bears and lions, on others. This, however, did not concern Jesus. He frankly said that, as far as his men were concerned, they were about to be commissioned “as lambs among wolves” (Luke 10:3). His team of witnesses was not called the Capernaum Cheetahs or the Jerusalem Jaguars. They were the Lambs, and their opponents in the first round were the Wolves. “No contest,” you say. “If it was a prize fight, the referees would stop it in the first round!”
But Jesus knew better. Lambs they were to be, and wolves their opponents certainly were. But the difference was found in the statement, “I am sending you” (10:3). The secret of effective Christian ministry is not found in the extraordinary abilities of those who are sent, but rather in the sovereign authority of the one who sends. Without his sending, the seventy-two would never have ventured forth. And without the assurance, “I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy” (10:19), the Lambs would never have taken the field. But they did! And what was the final score? Lambs 72, Wolves 0.
Jesus was the one who “chose” the seventy-two (10:1). He himself is the “Lord who is in charge of the harvest” (10:2). He is the one to whom the disciples should “pray” (10:2). He, and he alone, can adequately “send” people where they need to go to do what they must do. He is the one who gives instructions on the behavior of disciples, on ministry techniques, on the solemnity of the occasion, and on the urgency of the hour. It is to him that tired but excited disciples return, and it is from him that they hear the words, “Don’t rejoice just because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered as citizens of heaven” (10:20).
What, then, is the role of those who are sent out by Jesus? It is to be willing to be propelled into the action—against all odds, sometimes against better judgment, and occasionally against concerted advice. Then their job is to proclaim—to let people know about Jesus and his kingdom. Their role is also to pray for reinforcements! Finally, they are to persevere. This way, the Lambs will rout the Wolves every time!
For Further Study: Luke 10:1-20
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Men, Copyright ©2000 by Stuart Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
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