Jesus tells his disciples that they are sent out as vulnerable sheep among a pack of wolves. In the previous verses, Jesus mentions that judgment befalls those people who reject the blessing and message of his disciples. The perspective is set on those who reject the message and the consequence for their rejection. Jesus shifts the focus onto his messengers. The world is made up of only two kinds of people: believers and nonbelievers. There are worshipers of Jesus and worshipers of everything else. Those who worship things other than Jesus have set themselves against Him in some form or fashion. The message of the gospel is bad news them. The gospel divides at the most profound levels. We should be prepared for persecution of any form. We should be wise and cunning in the way we live among the wolves and yet blameless in order to remain faithful to our Lord.
Matthew 10:16-23 (ESV)
16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, 22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.