“Beware of men…”

This is the wise advice from our Savior, as given in Matthew 10. The advice is given to all Christians, who go out among “the wolves” of the Gentiles, those who not only do not believe, but who will kill you for your beliefs.

We are specifically told to go out as “sheep in the midst of wolves” (Mt. 10:16), but to

17Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.

In Jesus’ usage, “sheep” is not meant as the term of derision it has become in modern usage. Sheep are, after all, stupid critters, and prone to blindly follow.

Just the opposite here. Jesus asks of his disciples to be innocent, spotless, and to proclaim the Gospel in his name — no matter what. We all ought to trust in God to deliver us from all evil, and to know that if our faith is strong, we will be saved. We may lose our lives, but not our souls. As Jesus continues to proclaim, in Matthew 10:

26″So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.

I wish that I could have such courage. I’d like to believe that, given the situation, I would proclaim the Gospel, even if it meant my very life. That I would rise to the occasion, and forgo current pleasures, even life itself, for a future resurrection so that I may stand before the Throne.

The best I can predict for now is that none of us will know for certain what we will do. All we may do is pray that our faith is strong enough.

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