Luke 10:3

ESV Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.
NIV Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.
NASB Go; behold, I am sending you out like lambs in the midst of wolves.
CSB Now go; I'm sending you out like lambs among wolves.
NLT Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves.
KJV Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.

What does Luke 10:3 mean?

Luke built up gently towards this warning. Jesus first cautioned against pride (Luke 9:46–48), elitism (Luke 9:49–50), and distractions (Luke 9:57–62). He also illustrated how to peacefully respond to rejection (Luke 9:51–56). But Luke began that series of warnings right after Jesus said—again—that in Jerusalem the religious leaders will betray and kill Him (Luke 9:44–45).

This is the only place in the New Testament using the Greek root word arēn for "lamb." The term refers to a ceremonially clean male lamb ready for slaughter, but also infers personal weakness.

"Wolves" in Scripture refer to abusive authorities. Ezekiel says the "princes" of Israel during his day—political leaders—tear their prey, shed blood, and destroy lives for dishonest gain (Ezekiel 22:27). Zephaniah compares dishonest, greedy judges to ravenous wolves (Zephaniah 3:3). Jesus says false prophets are wolves in sheep's clothing (Matthew 7:15). They appear safe to a careless observer but are lethally dangerous. Paul warns the church leaders in Ephesus that wolfish false teachers will come, "speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them" (Acts 20:29–30).

Jesus expects His messengers to be pure, spiritually clean, and ready to sacrifice. This is crucial to distinguish them from lying, selfish civil and religious leaders who abuse people for their own gain.

But the messengers are not alone; God also protects the sheep. Ezekiel 34 is a powerful promise that God will call out His sheep and judge the corrupt leaders. Isaiah writes, "He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young" (Isaiah 40:11). Jesus promises to seek out and rescue the lost sheep (Luke 15:1–7). Someday, the wolf and the lamb will graze together in peace (Isaiah 65:25).
What is the Gospel?
Download the app: