Can you imagine giving up everything you are familiar with? Like family, friends, career, home. Its kind of like joining the military. They literally take you from your parents in most cases and put you in another state in a very barren set of barracks with nobody you know. They deprive you of sleep and work you to death. They assault your personality with abusive words. The military do this in hopes of bringing out the true you and the best in you. They try to weed out those who won’t be able to handle tough situations they might face as military men. They try to take out your stubborn streaks and put in some obedience and military skills. They have good reason for what they do. It is just difficult to go through the process. The disciples were not verbally abused by Jesus, but they did give up home, family and careers to follow Him. They did spend three years in training. They received instructions, life lessons, demonstrations and real life practice. In Matthew 10:16 -20 we learn about what lay ahead for them if they continued to follow Jesus after their training ended:
16 “Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as harmless as doves. 17 Because people will hand you over to sanhedrins and flog you in their synagogues, beware of them. 18 You will even be brought before governors and kings because of Me, to bear witness to them and to the nations. 19 But when they hand you over, don’t worry about how or what you should speak. For you will be given what to say at that hour, 20 because you are not speaking, but the Spirit of your Father is speaking through you.
Jesus tells them that things will not be comfortable, because He is sending them out on a dangerous mission. This is much like what many of our military men face. They end their training and they go out to do what they have been trained for. Jesus wants them to understand that they are not going in to the midst of men like themselves, but rather out in to the midst of wolves. They will be out in the middle of those who would harm them. For the disciples and for us as followers of Christ, it is important to start with this piece of wisdom. We are in the world and Jesus expects to go out in it. To go to those who don’t know Him, even to those who are against Jesus and would harm us as a result. With this piece of wisdom we will be wiser in how we proceed in the world. We will watch our testimony knowing full well the wolf pack is waiting to pounce on us when we stumble. We will be wiser in our choices of words and actions. We will be wiser about who we befriend. Remember you are a sheep and should act like one. Remember you are a sheep and are therefore prey to the wolves. Remember you have a shepherd who will take care of you.