"Hanging with the Shepherd"
Luke 10:1-3 - After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of Him, two by two, into every town and place where He Himself was about to go. And He said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves."
Jesus sends out seventy-two of His followers for the first time to tell other people about the kingdom of God. Jesus gives them detailed instructions about how to behave—what to pack, where to stay, what to do when people oppose them. But the one that sticks out the most strongly to me is this one: "Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves."
You see, sheep are pretty helpless. They don't have claws or fangs to attack an enemy. They don't have shells like a turtle to protect them from predators. They can't run very fast, at least compared to the creatures that hunt them. They are prone to foolish mishaps like getting tipped over and not being able to get back up again without help. As compared to a sheep, a lamb is even more harmless—and vulnerable.
But this is how Jesus says we are to be—like sheep, like lambs. And the people we live and serve among? Well, we all know they can behave like wolves. Human beings sometimes act like vicious animals—smart, fast, ruthless. They attack the weak and refuse to have mercy on the helpless. We've seen it from childhood onward. It is not safe to be a lamb in the middle of wolves.
So why does Jesus tell us to be lambs? Surely, it would be smarter to learn to defend ourselves—to grow claws and fangs—to plan sneaky ways to take out our enemies before they can take us out. That is what the world would advise. Do unto others before they do unto you.
But Jesus says no. We are to remain lambs in spite of the wolves. And that's only possible—we will only survive—because we do have one Protector, our Good Shepherd Himself.
Jesus is asking us to do the seemingly impossible—to trust Him even as we walk in the midst of wolves. He promises to be there with His rod and His staff, to protect and strengthen us. He will lead us to the water and pasture we need. He will guard us from the predators. No matter what they do to us, they cannot destroy us, for we are in Jesus' hands. He says to us, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand" (John 10:27-28).
We can trust in our Good Shepherd because He has laid down His own life in our defense, protecting us from the wolves. He says, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. ... No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from My Father" (John 10:10-11, 18).
Through Jesus' death and resurrection, He has made us safe in His flock forever.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank You for being my Shepherd. Help me to live as Your sheep today, trusting You to protect and save me from evil. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Have you ever been sent ahead to pave the way for something to follow (military service or a business mission)?
2. What do you think the disciples thought about the idea of being sent out as "lambs in the midst of wolves"?
3. How do you maintain your courage and focus when witnessing to others?
Today's Bible Readings: 1 Kings 16-18 Acts 13:1-25
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