“Jesus called His twelve disciples together and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness.” …. “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.”
“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” …. “Everyone who acknowledges Me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before My Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before My Father in heaven.”
“Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:1, 16, 28, 32-34 NLT)
Go! Go out into the world and tell people about Jesus. Let’s start with verse 16. We are being sent to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Good News, to the world, as “sheep among wolves.” Not a pretty picture. Then, to top it off, Jesus says to be “shrewd as snakes” – eeeeewww, gross; and “harmless as doves.” If nothing else, dove can be persistent! In spite of the picture I get from these verses, I find great comfort in verse 28a.
“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul.”
I’ve made the statement (a number of times) that bad guys – thugs, gangsters, etc. – can’t hurt me, to friends who then try to correct me and tell me that I can be hurt. We are both correct. Someone might hurt this physical body, even kill me, but that isn’t what drives me. This body is temporary (thank GOD!) but my soul is eternal, and it belongs to God. I don’t want to be hurt, and I don’t like to hurt. I know that when I have been physically hurt in the past, I’ve done my share of crying and complaining. Maybe more than my share! The difference then and now is that I am no longer living in fear of hurt. I don’t consciously put myself in harms way, but I don’t cower in fear, either.
I am confident that whatever happens, I will live on with Jesus, forever and a day.
Going back to the scriptures, the last verse here is one of my favorite quotes from Jesus. He was humble and didn’t brag, and He allowed Himself to be arrested and tried, flogged and ridiculed, and hung on a cross. He also cleared the temple in Jerusalem, His Father’s house, in righteous anger, of all of the scammers who were selling goods there. He was humble, but He was not weak! Verse 34:
“Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.”
I don’t carry a sword; I carry the protection of my LORD. (A little target practice never hurts, either….)
The command stands. Jesus doesn’t tell us all to leave home and go to faraway places. Some of us need to stay home to reach neighbors and friends and family. Don’t be afraid of what man can do to you. When GOD sits on the great white throne and passes justice, everyone who has done evil to His children will face His wrath. If you have ever seen a human father or mother protecting their kids, just imagine how much greater is God’s protection and judgment! I can hardly wait!
“Everyone who acknowledges Me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before My Father in heaven…. And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of My followers, you will surely be rewarded.” (Matthew 10:32, 42 NLT)