Thursday, July 6, 2017
Matthew 10:16: [Jesus is saying,] “I am sending you out like sheep surrounded by wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves."
Prey and predator are in the same space. Sheep are in the fields where the wolves are. It is a recipe for disaster for the sheep. But what will happen if the sheep are smart regarding their situation? What can the sheep do, not only to defend themselves, but to survive and grow? What if the sheep were fully aware of their surroundings? Maybe, they could "out smart" the wolves?
Jesus is saying to the Apostles that He is sending out to preach "The Kingdom of heaven is near" into hostile territory. Jesus is sending them in with people who will be hostile to the message and even to them. They are "the wolves." And it sounds as if Jesus is telling the Apostles to not be genuine. It seems that Jesus is telling them to be men they are not. Snakes are perceived as cunning, sneaky, and deceitful. At the same time, doves are the picture of purity, life, and faith. The two don't seem to match up. IF Jesus is telling them to be men they are not, then that is not real. That is not authentic.
Jesus IS saying, to be real and authentic when witnessing to the reality that the Kingdom of heaven is near, you need to be wise, discerning of all the plots and schemes that the enemy will use to trap you and defeat you. You need to be aware of your surroundings and check the air for any potential harm. AND Jesus is saying for you to trust in Him, His Word, His grace, His love and mercy. That strengthens you and builds you up so that you can, and will, resist all the devil's schemes. In other words, know your enemy, know your ally. Be real and be authentic in life and faith. Dear God, thank You for faith and strength to witness, Amen!
Pastor Robert Hemsath joined Faith Lutheran Church and School as the Senior Pastor in January 2017. Pastor Hemsath comes to FLC from Christ the King Lutheran Church in Waxahachie, TX. He has also served congregations in Aberdeen, ID and Pocatello, ID. He has been a Lutheran pastor for the past 20 years.