Bible Text: “Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” Matthew 10. 16-23
The gospel is the continuation of Jesus’ discourse before sending off His apostles for the mission. The goal of the mission is to announce to the people that the kingdom of God is near at hand. They have to be equipped with proper techniques how to win souls for the kingdom of God. He made used of these similes of serpents and doves. The serpent was “subtle” or “crafty” or “shrewd” as they conquer Adam and Eve in paradise. The dove, on the other hand, was thought of as innocent and harmless—doves were listed among the “clean animals” and were used for sacrifices in the Book of Leviticus. To this very day, doves are used as symbols of peace, and snakes are thought of as “sneaky. A missionary’s attitude therefore is a combination of the toughness of a serpent with the softness of a dove.
People were unfamiliar and very hostile to Jesus and to the apostles. The apostles were anticipated by Jesus to encounter isolation, rejection and criticism in the near future. People have more tendencies to reject and criticize rather than to believe and embrace. To act like a serpent is to think various ways to penetrate the hearts of people. They should not be intimidated but work discretely and passionately how to convince people. They should not be discouraged even when everything seems to be futile. They should never give up. Never say surrender for the love of God will surely conquer. To act like a dove is to show gentleness. Be willing to be oppressed rather to oppress people. Be ready to be silent when you are surrounded with people who are loud. Be ready to endure persecution if the situation calls for it. Followers of Jesus are harmless and always willing to bring peace even at the expense of giving up ones dear life.
Christian life is not alive on a cloud floating and far from everyday worries. Christian life is here and now with all its challenges. It's a daily decision of what is right and wrong, the good and the better. Be like the serpent by being passionate how you can conquer evil with good and do not allow the devil to conquer you. Do not give up Christ in exchange of the pleasure of the world but conquer the world with Christ. Be like a dove by not scared of difficulties in life. Sacrifice is the word for Christ’s followers. Those who will endure till the end will be the one to receive the crown of life.
Lord, may we pull out courage and wisdom in the midst of life's challenges.