by Jason Yu
“Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves” Luke 10:3 (New Living Translation.)
If you realize that in the professional sports world, there are teams called the Bears, the Lions, the Jaguars, the Rams—but never the Squirrels or the Lambs. There is something muscular, aggressive, and intimidating about those names and they command respect. But a sports team named the Squirrels or the Lambs would on the other hand create pity and concern and laughter from the audience.
The people of Jesus’ time weren’t into professional sports, but they still had an aggressive side and did not hesitate to impose their will, like bears and lions, on others just like the examples of the scribes and Pharisees we see in the Bible. This, however, did not concern Jesus. As a matter of fact, He said that they were about to be sent out “as lambs among wolves” (Luke 10:3). His team of witnesses was not called the Capernaum Lions or the Jerusalem Tigers. They were the Lambs, and their opponents in the first round were the Wolves. If it were actually lambs vs wolves, you may say “Obviously the wolves will win.” It would seem to be such a slaughterhouse that even the referee may need to step in and stop the fight.
But Jesus knew better. Yes, even as they were lambs and the opponents were wolves. But the difference was found in the statement, “I am sending you” (Luke 10:3). What makes a Christian ministry effective is not because of the extraordinary abilities of those who are sent, but rather in the sovereign authority of the one who sends—that is Jesus. Without His sending, the seventy would never have ventured forth. And without His assurance, “I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy” (Luke 10:19 NLT), the Lambs would never have taken the field. But they did! And what was the final score? Lambs 70, Wolves 0.
Jesus was the one who “chose” the seventy (Luke 10:1). He himself is the “Lord who is in charge of the harvest” (Luke 10:2 NLT). He is the one whom the disciples should pray to (Luke 10:2). He, and he alone, is able to adequately “send” people where they need to go to do what they must do. He is the one who gives instructions on the behaviour of disciples, on ministry techniques, and on the urgency of the hour. It is to Him that tired but excited disciples return to, and it is from Him that they hear the words, Luke 10:20 NKJV “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”
What, then, is the role of those who are sent out by Jesus? It is to be willing to be put into action—against all odds, sometimes against better judgment, and occasionally against collective advice. Then their job is to proclaim—to let people know about Jesus and his kingdom. Their role is also to pray for reinforcement! Finally, they are to persevere. This way, the Lambs will defeat the Wolves every time!