Lambs in the Midst of Wolves

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At first sight . . . the Kingdom seems impossible and the world way the reasonable and workable way. Jesus, knowing that men would feel that his way is impossible says: “I send you as lambs in the midst of wolves.” It looks as thought the principles of Jesus have about as much chance of success as lambs have of getting through a pack of wolves. What can humility do in a world where it is considered a weakness?

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What chance of success has a business man if he should take the way of the Sermon on the Mount? Would not his competitors tear him to pieces, as wolves do a lamb, if he attempted it? And a nation that built its collective life upon the principle of love and turning the other cheek—would not other nations make short shrift of it? They would be lambs in the midst of wolves. So it seems. But when John saw the final end of things in Apocalypse the Lamb was on the throne!

-E. Stanley Jones,
Christ at the Round Table

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New life breaking through

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The whole of the Sermon [Matt 5-7] is framed within Jesus’s announcement that what his fellow Jews had longed for over many generations was now at last coming to pass – but that new kingdom didn’t look like they had thought it would. Indeed, in some ways it went in exactly the other direction. No violence, no hatred of enemies, no anxious protection of land and property against the pagan hordes. In short, no frantic intensification of the ancestral codes of life.

Rather, a glad and unworried trust in the creator God, whose kingdom is now at last starting to arrive, leading to a glad and generous heart toward other people, even those who are technically “enemies.” Faith, hope, and love: here they are again. They are the language of life, the sign in the present of green shoots growing through the concrete of this sad old world, the indication that the creator God is on the move, and that Jesus’s hearers and followers can be part of what he’s now doing.

― N. T. Wright

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