Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves

“Behold, I send you out as sheep
in the midst of wolves.
Therefore be wise as serpents
and harmless as doves.”
(Matthew 10:16)

The title and this verse are
The setting and context of:

“But Jesus answered and said to them,
“I also will ask you one thing,
which if you tell Me,
I likewise will tell you by what authority
I do these things:
The baptism of John—where was it from?
From heaven or from men?””
(Matthew 21:24 – 25)

Jesus has entered the temple
And the chief priests and elders of the people
Are asking Him a question

In fact, they confront Him
While He is in the middle of His teaching

The response that Jesus gives is an example
Of His instruction to the Disciples
In Matthew 10:16 and is an aid to us
On how we should deal with similar
Situations…

Be under no illusion
We ARE “sheep” sent out by Jesus
In the midst of “wolves”

Not everybody WANTS to hear the Good News

Many, unfortunately, not only hate
The Good News
But also hate those who carry it

Therefore, back in Matthew 10, Jesus warned
The Disciples to “be as wise as serpents
And gentle as doves”

And in a very real way…
Jesus exemplifies that same command
Here in Matthew 21

The question that Jesus asked them
Struck to the core of what they believed:
Were they truly men of God
Or people pleasers…?

“People pleasers” is a different way of saying
“The fear of man”

Many people will NOT speak the Truth
Because they have a “fear of man”
They VALUE the acceptance of people
MORE than being faithful to God…

And we need to be careful that we
Are NOT among them
“The fear of man brings a snare,
But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.”
(Proverbs 29:25)

Strange isn’t it…
But this verse from Proverbs would have
Been known by these chief priests
And elders of the people

Be sure to trust in the Lord
And say whatever He tells you
And you will be safe

But do so in a way where
You are as wise as serpents
And harmless as doves

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