(Jesus said) "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
It wasn't the crime of the century.
The thieves knew after their robbery was completed the Mona Lisa would still be safe in the Louvre; Fort Knox would still hold its treasury of gold, and the crown jewels would remain out of harm's way in the Tower of London.
Even though this was not a major heist, Jeremy Lovitt and Gabriel Gonzales made sure their getaway car was running and their pistols were loaded when they entered the Stockton, California, Burger King to demand the eatery's cash. As management had trained them to do, the staff began to fill the robber's bags with the money.
All except for one.
This fellow saw, and took, a chance to slip out unnoticed.
I just love what that unnamed escapee did next. The very first thing he did was get in the robber's car and move it. He moved it around the block where it could neither be seen nor accessed. When the successful robbers burst through Burger King's doors, they found, well, they found they were going to have to make their escape on foot. End result: Lovitt and Gonzales were arrested and the money was recovered.
In short, the Burger King hero was as wise as a serpent and as innocent as a dove. When the robbers came in, he (or she) didn't get all macho and oppose them; he didn't refuse to hand over the cash. On the contrary, he faded into the woodwork and then did the one thing that would foil the heist.
As I look at Jesus, that is what He did. When Satan challenged Him to turn stones into bread or to float down from the temple spire or worship him, Jesus turned aside those temptations with a simple word of Scripture. When witnesses lied about Him at His trial; He didn't defend Himself. When His accusers hit Him, He didn't name the person who had rained down the blows. When they nailed Him to the cross and challenged Him to come down, He could easily have done so.
But Jesus didn't do any of those things. What Jesus did do was resist temptation, fulfill the Law, carry our sins, and die on the cross so that all who believe on Him would be saved. In doing as the Father had asked and not as Satan suggested, Jesus showed Himself as wise as a serpent and as innocent as a dove.
We can learn from His example. Too often Christians get suckered into shouting matches and trading verbal insults with the world. When the story is told, often we end up looking silly, stupid and inane. Far better for us to wait until the right moment and then do or say that unexpected Christian thing, which will turn the tables on the devil and make a positive witness for the Christ.
When this happens, we will be doing as Jesus encouraged, for we will be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, the world expends a great deal of time trying to tempt me and trip me up. Grant that I may have the wisdom to identify their shenanigans and then do that which will make a powerful, positive witness to Jesus who has saved me. In His Name I pray it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries