October 7, 2021
Scripture: “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16 ESV
Observation: Matthew begins chapter 10 with Jesus’ commissioning of his twelve disciples. They are to follow Jesus’ example: stay focused on their target group (the lost sheep of the house of Israel); proclaim the kingdom at hand; heal, restore life, and cast out demons; travel light and serve free of charge; offer blessings of peace on those who are worthy; and, waist no time with those who reject them or their message. Then, in the above verse, Christ cautions and instructs his disciples regarding navigating resistance. Even though they will encounter wolfish people in the midst of those to whom they will minister, they must still conduct themselves as the Lord’s gentle sheep—not meeting force with force but seeking to convert wolves to fellow sheep. As Charles Spurgeon notes in his commentary on this passage, the only weapons of Christians are that “they are weaponless.”
Takeaway: To navigate worldly resistance, we must be innocently wise; we must be as guileless as a dove and as attuned to our surroundings as a serpent. As William Hendriksen notes in his commentary on Matthew, we would do well to mimic the Apostle Paul “who was all things to all men” (1 Corinthians 9:22). Specifically, as Hendriksen states, we need godly “wisdom to do the right thing at the right time and place and in the right manner.” As for being innocent as a dove, we must conduct ourselves with integrity, not trying to impress or seek the approval of others but being most concerned about rightly following in the footsteps of our meek (strong yet gentle) Lord.
Prayer: Father God, please grant us your grace to be innocently wise in proclaiming and living out your gospel in a world that sometimes wolfly devours your messengers. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling