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

Monday, May 3, 2021

[Jesus warned the apostles when he sent them out:] "Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves."
— Matthew 10:16 NLT

Key Thought

After introducing us to the reality that not everyone will accept the Good News 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 Good News 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. First, 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 hateful toward them like those who hate me and your cause. Instead, create in me a pure and loving heart that I might know and live your ways in witness to those who do not know you. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Romans 16:19-20
  • Philippians 2:14-16
  • 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13


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Illustration of Matthew 10:16 NLT — [Jesus warned the apostles when he sent them out:] "Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves."

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.