“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. ..." (Matthew 10:16-20)

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. But be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you." (Matthew 10:16-20)

Why is Jesus warning them?

Jesus is instructing his disciples on how to go out and preach the gospel of love for God. Jesus warns them to be careful as they preach:
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves."
This is consistent with how Jesus’ also taught. He guarded against those Pharisees and Sadducees that were trying to trick him into saying things that they could arrest him for. As is the case today among many sectarian institutions that claim to follow Jesus, they did not like anyone who was teaching anything but their interpretations of the scripture. Why is this?

Certainly, those synagogues were supposed to be places of worship in the spirit of the teachings of Moses, Abraham, Jacob, David and other great Prophets.

Why were they 'wolves'?

What had gone wrong to have Jesus warn his disciples against them being trapped and tortured by these people? Why were these men "wolves"?

It is because of envy and power. Those in paid positions of authority amongst organized religious sects - as those among today's sectarian institutions - are there because they want those positions of authority. They want to have others respect and worship them.

They want to teach and control others from their position of authority. They want to utilize the teachings of Jesus and the prophets for their own power and prestige - and wealth.

In other words, they are doing their will, not God's. Why else would they be so fearful of someone speaking something different than their teachings?

Why didn't Jesus take a temple priest position?

Jesus, on the other hand, did not take a paid temple position appointed by councils of men. Neither did his teacher, John the Baptist. And he didn't want his disciples to gain such positions either. He warned that because his teachings are the Truth, those who are envious and set against doing the will of the Supreme Being will find reasons to hurt them. Jesus is warning his disciples that the very torture that will happen to him, and that happened to his teacher John the Baptist, may also happen to his disciples.

Jesus is clearly warning his disciples so they could possibly prevent being persecuted. Yet at the same time, he is clear that they need to speak for the Supreme Being, and not worry about what they say. Jesus is clearly telling his disciples to speak the Truth and represent God. What may happen to them as a result will be out of their control - yet he wants to prepare them for the possible outcomes.

Then he says:
"But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you."
This last sentence is critical, and it defines for all those who debate the relationship between Jesus and God, and how and why Jesus would make statements regarding his proximity with the Supreme Being, and the oneness between himself and God.

Jesus is instructing his students to "not worry about what to say" because he wants them to allow the Supreme Being to take over.

Jesus wants them to take refuge in the Supreme Being, and allow God to speak through them. As the “Spirit of your Father” speaks through them, Jesus clarifies, “it will not be you speaking.”

And what does Jesus mean by the "Spirit of your Father" here? This same statement was recorded slightly differently in Luke:
"When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say." (Luke 12:11)
Thus we can see that Jesus is speaking of the Holy Spirit - the Supreme Being's expansion who dwells next to each of us within these physical bodies.

Jesus is explaining the process of preaching on behalf of the Supreme Being, and this also clearly explains precisely what Jesus himself did.

Did God speak through Jesus?

Through his intimate loving relationship with the Supreme Being, Jesus allowed God to speak through him. As this happens, we can say that there is a oneness between Jesus and God because they have the same will and the same words.

But this doesn't mean that Jesus is the Supreme Being. When one person speaks for another we might be listening to one person, but there are still two persons involved - the one being spoken for and the one speaking.

For example, if a United States ambassador goes to a meeting with a foreign president to carry a message from the U.S. president, the foreign head of state hears the message as if it is coming from the U.S. president. The foreign president does not think that the ambassador is voicing his own personal opinion.

The foreign president also doesn’t confuse the ambassador with the U.S. president either. He knows the ambassador is an individual, a separate person from the U.S. president. However, at the same time, the foreign president extends the same respect to the ambassador as he would the U.S. president, because the ambassador is representing the president. This creates a oneness between them, but they are still two individuals.

In the same way, we can understand that the loving servant and representative of God - and in this case even the highly esteemed loving servant Jesus - is not the Supreme Being. We can see that there are two individuals here, just as the ambassador is not the president.

At the same time, however, we can know that the words of Jesus are the words of God, because Jesus is representing God. Therefore we can respect and honor Jesus as God’s representative, knowing that he is speaking for the Supreme Being - yet is not personally the Supreme Being himself.

This is also why we find Jesus praying to God, saying:
"Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will. Let the cup pass from me." (Mark 14:36)
It is obvious from this prayer that Jesus is an individual and not the Supreme Being - "Abba, Father" -capable of having is own will.

It is also obvious that Jesus has a relationship of loving service with the Supreme Being. He is God's loving servant.

This subtle yet glorious understanding regarding Jesus’ position is clear from Jesus’ own statements. Jesus is clarifying himself with his own words. For example:
"For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me." (John 6:38)