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Matthew 10:1

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Matthew 10:1, ‘And He called to Him His twelve disciples and gave them authority…’
Matthew 10:16, ‘Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves…’

Summary Thoughts: To wield the authority of the Lamb who slays the Dragon through His death is to walk as sheep in the midst of wolves, knowing that every wolfish wound is borne in and overcome by the Risen Lord who conquers through the cross.


Full Thoughts: Jesus sends out His disciples with a measure of His own authority…and yet, He says they are being sent out ‘as sheep in the midst of wolves.’ At first this is a jarring contrast.

However, upon consideration, it makes perfect sense. Indeed, the disciples are sheep among wolves not *despite* having Jesus’ authority, but precisely *because* they have Jesus’ authority. What do I mean?

Consider Jesus’ authority, where is it supremely displayed? Where does He appear as the Son of Man, coming on the clouds of glory, receiving from the hand of the Ancient of Days ‘dominion and glory and a kingdom, so that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him,’ (Dan.7:14)? By what work is He acknowledged to bear the Name above every name so that every knee in the cosmos should bow to Him (Phil.2:6-11)? Through what achievement is all authority in heaven and on earth given to Him (Matt.28:18)? By what victory does He conquer the world and so secure the kingdom for His servants (Rev.5:5-9)? Jesus’ authority is supremely displayed, enacted, and secured upon the cross. The cross is the throne of His glory, and His death is the supreme achievement of His authority, by which He lays down His own life (John 10:18), destroying His enemies (Heb.2:14, Col.2:15), and secures the taking His life back up again as the Son of God in Power (Heb.13:20-21).

In other words, the Leonine authority of Jesus Christ is supremely manifest in His Lamb-like sacrifice upon the cross (Again, Rev.5:5-6ff). Indeed, it is by His death as the Lamb that He slays the Dragon, that ancient serpent from whom every ‘wolf’ in this world is spawned (Rev.5:6-9, 12:11; Jn 8:44). And it is *this* authority that He gives to His people.

The disciples are granted *this* authority, the authority of the True King, the authority that manifests in this world as the authority to lay down one’s life, to receive a the kingdom through the way of the cross, to be exalted to the heights by obediently emptying oneself in the depths, to trample down enemies with nail-pierced feet, to hold the scepter in love-riven hands, to overthrow the dragon through the blood of sacrifice, and to see death itself turned to the threshold of Life….this is what true authority looks like in this world, and we learn that through the Passion of our Lord.

We ought not be surprised, then, if we ourselves are sheep in the midst of wolves. The world sees that position as one of supreme vulnerability and weakness, but—woven into the body of the Lamb who tramples the Dragon by His death—it is, in truth, the form that true authority takes in this world.

As we set our eyes on the One with All Authority in Heaven and on Earth, as we walk the path He walked, and manifest the same authority that he revealed in perfection upon the Tree, we too will do the same works that he did, and even greater works (John 14:12-14)…and His greatest work—the work of ultimate authority, power, and victory—is the work of His death, through which He secures resurrection.

Let us, then, know the sort of authority we have received…let us not be lulled into believing that True authority looks like the Dragon’s authority…But, knowing that every tearing nail and biting tooth of every worldly wolf was borne in and overcome by the authority of our Lord’s passion, let us live as sheep in the midst of wolves, bold as lions to lay down our lives in conformity to the Lamb who slaughter’s the Dragon through the obedient love of the cross.