Sent forth as lambs among wolves

The second point in our Lord's charge to the seventy disciples, is the perilous nature of the work in which they were about to be engaged.He does not keep back from them the dangers and trials which are before them. He does not enlist them under false pretenses, or prophesy smooth things, or promise them unvarying success. He tells them plainly what they must expect. "Behold," He says, "I send you forth as lambs among wolves." [Luke 10:3]

These words, no doubt, had a special reference to the life-time of those to whom they were spoken. We see their fulfillment in the many persecutions described in the Acts of the Apostles. But we must not conceal from ourselves that the words describe a state of things which may be seen at this very day. So long as the Church stands believers must expect to be like "lambs among wolves." They must make up their minds to be hated, and persecuted, and ill treated, by those who have no real religion. They must look for no favor from unconverted people, for they will find none. It was a strong but a true saying of Martin Luther, that "Cain will murder Abel, if he can, to the very end of the world." "Marvel not," says John, "if the world hates you." "All that will live godly in Jesus Christ," says Paul, "shall suffer persecution." (1 John 3:13; 2 Tim. 3:12.)

—J.C. Ryle, 'Expository Thoughts on Luke’


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