What Jesus Did! 'Snakes & Doves' — Matthew 10:16

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

"Listen! I am sending you, and you will be like sheep among wolves. So be smart like snakes. But also be like doves and do nothing wrong."
— Matthew 10:16
Illustration of Matthew 10:16 — "Listen! I am sending you, and you will be like sheep among wolves. So be smart like snakes. But also be like doves and do nothing wrong."

Key Thought

After introducing us to the reality that not everyone will accept the good message of the Kingdom, Jesus now prepares us for how difficult that rejection will be. There will be some who have a benign attitude that ignores the message. But others will have a malignant and vengeful attitude toward the Gospel and those who share it. How vicious? Jesus' followers will be like sheep hunted by a den of wolves (Matthew 10:16). In such circumstances, two qualities are not only essential; they are commanded. Jesus' followers are to be bright, insightful, strategic, smart, clever, and wise. In other words, we won't stupidly muddle through when opposed. We do not want to bring unnecessary shame or hardship on ourselves, the cause of Christ, or Jesus' people. Second, even if we are hounded, criticized, and despised, let's make sure we are a people of character, peace, and purity. Clearly the apostle Peter got the message, because a reading of 1 Peter teaches us how to practically live out what Jesus teaches here: purity and prudence in a hostile world in which we live as witnesses to Jesus Christ and his Kingdom.

Today's Prayer

Give me wisdom, please dear God, to face those who despise your name, your cause, your message, and your people. Help me not to become like those who hate me and your cause. Instead, create in me a pure heart that I might know and live your ways in witness to those who do not know you. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

Jesus gave these twelve apostles some orders. Then he sent them {to tell people about the kingdom}. Jesus said, "Don't go to the non-Jewish people. And don't go into any town where the Samaritans live. But go to the people of Israel (the Jews). They are like sheep that are lost. When you go, tell them this: 'The kingdom of heaven is coming soon.' Heal sick people. Give dead people life again. Heal those people that have leprosy. Force demons to leave people. I give you these powers freely. So help other people freely. Don't carry any money with you—gold or silver or copper. Don't carry a bag. Take for your trip only the clothes and shoes you are wearing. Don't take a walking stick. A worker should be given the things he needs. "When you enter a city or town, find some worthy person there and stay in his home until you leave. When you enter that home say, 'Peace be with you.' If the people in that home welcome you, then they are worthy of your peace. May they have the peace you wished them. But if the people don't welcome you, then they are not worthy of your peace. Take back the peace you wished for them. And if a home or town refuses to welcome you or listen to you, then leave that place. Shake their dust off your feet. I tell you the truth. On the judgment day it will be worse for that town than for the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah. "Listen! I am sending you, and you will be like sheep among wolves. So be smart like snakes. But also be like doves and do nothing wrong. Be careful of people. They will arrest you and take you to be judged. They will whip you in their synagogues. You will be taken to stand before governors and kings. People will do this to you because of me. You will tell about me to those kings and governors and to the non-Jewish people. When you are arrested, don't worry about what to say or how you should say it. At that time you will be given the things to say. It will not really be you speaking. The Spirit of your Father will be speaking throughyou. "Brothers will turn against their own brothers and give them to be killed. Fathers will turn against their own children and give them to be killed. Children will fight against their own parents and will send their parents to be killed. All people will hate you because you follow me. But the person that continues strong until the end will be saved. When you are treated badly in one city, go to another city. I tell you the truth. You will not finish going to all the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes again. "A student is not better than his teacher. A servant is not better than his master. A student should be satisfied to become like his teacher. A servant should be satisfied to become like his master. If the head of the family is called Beelzebul (the devil), then the other members of the family will be called worse names!

Matthew 10:5-25

Related Scripture Readings

All the believers have heard that you obey. So I am very happy because of you. But I want you to be wise about the things that are good. And I want you to know nothing about things that are evil. The God that brings peace will soon defeat Satan (the devil) and give you power over him. The grace (kindness) of our Lord Jesus be with you.

Romans 16:19-20

Do everything without complaining or arguing. Then you will be innocent and without anything wrong in you. You will be God's children without fault. But you are living with evil people all around you who have become very bad. Among those people you shine like lights in the dark world. You offer those people the teaching that gives life. So I can be happy when Christ comes again. I can be happy because my work was not wasted. I ran in the race and won.

Philippians 2:14-16

We pray that the Lord will make your love grow. We pray that he will give you more and more love for each other and for all people. We pray that you will love all people like we love you. We pray this so that your hearts will be made strong. Then you will be holy and without fault before our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy people.

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.