May 23, 2023
Luke 10:3 – Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.
The costly commission to follow Jesus and to go forth as His ambassadors is so controversial as to appear adversarial. Jesus warns us to expect hostility and opposition. He does not say this to discourage us, but to encourage us. He does not intend to frighten us away, but to have us brace ourselves in the embrace of His grace and power.
“Go your ways,” He says, knowing that each of us has a path that is uniquely and wondrously ours. No two paths are exactly the same though they often intersect and frequently follow parallel courses. We may hesitate to go our ways because it is less risky to continue as we have been, sitting at the feet of Jesus in the cloistered environs of our religious retreats. But we must go. It is His commission.
“I send you,” He says and that gives us courage to go forth, knowing that we have been authorized and mandated we bear His Name and represent His kingdom. It gives us confidence and joy to know that we are not staggering through the darkness of meaningless humdrum. We have been sent.
“I send you forth as lambs,” He says. We are like baby sheep. We still need our shepherd. As we go from Him, we develop a new relationship with him. We discover that He has come along in a new way.
“Lo, I am with you always,” He assures us.
“… as lambs among wolves.” This is the scary part. It is dangerous out there to the extent that we really could lose some things along the way. And if the things we can potentially lose are dearer to us than the commission, we could lose everything. However, if we have relinquished our hold on the things of earth so that they “grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace,” then we have absolutely nothing to lose. We have died, as the scriptures say, and our lives are hidden with Christ in God.
Don’t be afraid of the wolves. Beware of them, but don’t let them stop you. Whatever you do, don’t miss the mission.
A Time for Rejoicing
And the seventy returned again with joy ... (Luke 10:17)
Our people were full of energy and excitement. Though physically exhausted, they could not contain themselves after returning from a one-week mission to another country. What they had seen, heard, and done affirmed their callings and assured them that God's hand had been upon them. They had ventured forth into the unknown and had been touched by the Spirit in the process of touching others.
They returned again with joy.
Have you ever had this experience? Have you ever answered the call to get out of your "safe place" and move out on faith? Perhaps it was to cross the street and speak with a neighbor. Perhaps it was to help serve food to the needy or sit with an elderly person. You were apprehensive and unsure of yourself, but as you answered the call and moved out at the command of Christ, you sensed His presence with you and were exhilarated by His power flowing through you.
There is an energy that is created whenever we venture forth in obedience to Christ empowered by the Holy Spirit. Once we get the taste of personal ministry, evangelism, and proclamation of the good news, we want to do it more and more. We return to the place from which we have been sent with rejoicing and enthusiasm to report all that God has done through the likes of us.
If you have never ventured forth in ministry, now is the time to do so.