Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Wise as serpents

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.  – Matthew 10.16

Going in to the world to talk about Jesus was never going to be easy. Jesus warned His disciples on this special mission trip, and His warning is good for us.

‘I send you forth like sheep in the midst of a bunch of wolves.’

Our message doesn’t appeal to the world. Nobody wants to hear that their sin separates them from God. We need kind of plan as we go.

Jesus told the disciples:

Be wise as serpents
He harmless as doves

We don’t just charge into the task without think. We use godly wisdom to know how to talk to people. Like serpents we need to be cunning and not needlessly expose ourselves to danger.

As dove we need meekness and harmlessness in our witness. We are not out there to pick a fight.

Rather than try to be the writer I am not, let me just post here what Albert Barnes put it in his Bible commentary.

‘Serpents have always been an emblem of wisdom and cunning, Gen_3:1. The Egyptians used the serpent in their hieroglyphics as a symbol of wisdom. Probably the thing in which Christ directed his followers to imitate the serpent was in its caution in avoiding danger. No animal equals them in the rapidity and skill which they evince in escaping danger. So said Christ to his disciples, You need caution and wisdom in the midst of a world that will seek your lives. He directs them, also, to be harmless, not to provoke danger, not to do injury, and thus make their fellow-men justly enraged against them. Doves are, and always have been, a striking emblem of innocence. Most people would foolishly destroy a serpent, be it ever so harmless, yet few are so hard-hearted as to kill a dove.’

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