“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (16). Jesus sent his followers out as witnesses multiple times (Mt 28:19); this time, they went two by two only to “the lost sheep of Israel”. Just as the later disciples understood, the first twelve apostles knew they were stepping into danger. And like all who followed God from Abraham to Joshua to the post-resurrection witnesses, they were given the same encouragement: “Do not be afraid” (26,28).
“So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (31). The courage and comfort that come from the Spirit are meant for active service; as we follow, he gives us what we need.