Extended reading: Matthew 10:9-15 more instructions to the twelve disciples
16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Sheep among wolves? As shrewd as snakes? Obviously it took a lot of courage to be a Christian in Matthew’s time. Yet his followers went out to witness to governors and kings as well as to the Gentiles, knowing full well that they were facing arrest, floggings, prison, perhaps even death! These early Christians went out as innocent as doves, with the assurance that God would give them exactly the right way to approach their opposition and exactly the right words to say to win them to Christ. And He did, because we are here today, the spiritual descendants of these first Christians. However, let us remember that in many parts of the world followers of Christ are still as “sheep among wolves,” having to practice their faith in secret.
During this holy season of Lent, let us pray for these Christian brothers and sisters.
Father God, we pray that you will protect your followers who are in danger because of their faith. May your spirit speak through them with the right words to say. And may we always be conscious of the freedom we have to follow You, praising Your name. Thank you for Your assurance that You will guide us still. Amen