What did Jesus say?
Be Wise As Serpents
- Matthew 10:16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”
In Other Text:
- Proverbs 13:20 Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
- Romans 16:19 For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.
Jesus is asking us to be like….a snake? While snakes tend to be associated with deception or trickery, a snake (like humans) is multifaceted in nature. Jesus specifically calls us to be shrewd (or wise, in other translations) as a snake. Collins Dictionary gives this insight:
shrewd: adjective: A shrewd person is able to understand and judge a situation quickly and to use this understanding to their own advantage.
Jesus is in the process of sending out the 12 apostles into their Jewish community to share a message that would fly in the face of their core beliefs about the Messiah. He knew they would face great opposition, with plenty of opportunity to fall into sins such as anger and judgment. In His command to be shrewd as snakes AND innocent as doves, He challenges us all to wisely judge potentially volatile situations, while choosing NOT to fall into judgment of the people involved (Matthew 7:1-3). Commit to leaning on the Lord and His wisdom to guide your “life among wolves” with innocence this week.