7.15.21 – Daily Dose of Worship. A study on Matthew. Part 160. Believe.

“‘Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be as wary as serpents, and as innocent as doves.” – Matthew 10:16

Jesus is sending His twelve hand-picked disciples out to be apostles; this word literally means “sent ones.” They have a specific mission: proclaim the coming of the kingdom of heaven from town to town in the region of Galilee (Matthew 10:5–8).

Here, Jesus begins to describe a longer-term mission. Most likely, in this moment, the disciples would not likely have fully understood that. What Christ refers to here will mostly happen after His death, resurrection, and return to heaven. During the Last Supper, Jesus will provide similar warnings and encouragements (John 15:18–20; 16:1–4).

The metaphor Christ uses here is a striking picture. Elsewhere, Jesus spoke of Himself as the “Good Shepherd” who would die to protect His flock (John 10:11), specifically from attacking wolves (John 10:12–14). The radical difference between believers in Christ and the rest of the world is captured in the symbolism of being sheep “sent” into the midst of wolves. At first, this may seem contradictory: a literal shepherd’s job is to keep sheep away from danger. Jesus, though, has empowered this group of twelve men to act on His behalf; they will be equipped to face the dangers that come with such actions.

Jewish people would have been used to thinking of themselves as sheep surrounded by Gentile wolves. Jesus, though, is claiming this metaphor for His followers. They will face both Jewish and Gentile wolves as they do the dangerous work of declaring Jesus and His kingdom to the world.

In the culture of this time, snakes were symbolic of shrewdness and cunning. Doves were so innocent as to often seem completely clueless to danger. Jesus tells His followers to exercise whatever wise shrewdness they can to avoid conflict and danger without losing the dove-like innocence that will allow them to continue to proclaim the truth without fear. It will be a hard balance to keep, but it will be necessary for the mission to be successful.

While these words are spoken to a unique group of men, they still have meaning for Christian believers, today. Jesus does not endorse naïve, shallow belief. Nor does He allow believers to be bitter cynics or spiritual brawlers. Other passages of Scripture reemphasize the need for Christians to be both informed and sensible in their spiritual lives (1 Peter 3:15–16; Colossians 2:8

Jesus does not endorse naive, shallow belief. This is why we dive so deeply into these Verses. This is why we have Bible studies each Wednesday night, to make our belief stronger, to strengthen our resolve, to take our relationshipp with Jesus to another level.

Believe today. Believe deeply.

5 Comments

  1. Sue Bates on July 15, 2021 at 6:33 am

    Today’s devotional reminds me of a sign I saw leaving a church parking lot: “Now entering the mission field”

    • Patti S on July 15, 2021 at 10:06 am

      Sue, I have seen this sign at a Church near us.
      I LOVE it!!!

  2. Patti S on July 15, 2021 at 10:06 am

    The phrase that caught me today:
    ‘Believe today. Believe deeply’.

    Believe today – because it is a daily walk. Just cause I got it ‘right’ yesterday doesn’t mean I will get it ‘right’ today. It’s constantly aligning myself with Him and being willing to listen when I am not in step.

    Believe deeply. – this is soooooooo what I want, to continue to move to a place of this ‘deep belief’. That when I am seen it is Him that is seen.

    Because of Him

  3. Bruce R B on July 15, 2021 at 4:26 pm

    A young wolf is cute and adorable. Beware of wolves that have these traits. Even a young wolf can do damage.

  4. Jonathan B on July 15, 2021 at 6:23 pm

    Go forth and share his good words. Reach out for the lost and begin to guide them to Jesus’ loving arms

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