Jesus is smart. Have you heard anybody says that they want to be smart like Jesus? Or people adore him because he is smart? Or have you listen to a sermon entitled ‘The Smartness of Jesus’? Holy, yes. Glorious, yes. Loving, yes. Smart? Well... I adore Jesus more since the day I discover that he is smart. I want to be like Jesus. Jesus, I pray.
Before Jesus sends his twelve apostles out for mission trip, he instructed them, “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16, NLT). Wolves, sheep, snakes and doves. “Wolves” sound very dangerous. “As sheep” is quite offensive but we get used to it already. “As doves” is rather lovely and sweet. I like. “As snake”, well, did Jesus really said that? Snake reminds me of the serpent in the Garden of Eden. That deceitful creature. It is like saying, ‘Richard, in this very dangerous world, as my disciple you must be holy as the Spirit and be as cunning as Satan.’ Be as shrewd as snakes!
In other word, Jesus is asking us to be smart and cunning. I love this. When I read the Gospel stories, I can’t help but stand amaze at his wisdom and smartness. For example, when the Pharisees wanted to trick him by asking, “Now tell us what do you think about this: is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” If Jesus says yes then he will be accuse as Roman supporter and the people will surely going to protest against him for that. If Jesus says no then the Pharisees will say that Jesus is teaching people to go against the Roman. How to solve this wicked-tricky question? Easy. Jesus asked them to show a coin and they showed a Roman coin. He then asked again, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. “Well then, give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God” (Matthew 22:15-22). Brilliant! Jesus was not only smart but he managed bring God-consciousness into the minds of the Pharisees.
Another example, Jesus’ authority was challenged. The religious leaders demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?” “I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied. “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human?” They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask us why we didn’t believe John. But if we say it was merely human, we’ll be mobbed because the people believe John was a prophet.” So they finally replied, “We don’t know.” And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.” (Matthew 21:23-27). Brilliant! Jesus was cunning as snake! Very smart!
One more example, a woman caught in adultery. The enemies asked Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The Law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” Again, this is a trick question. If Jesus says stone her, then Jesus’ credibility as Messiah or Saviour of the world is at stake. If Jesus says don’t stone her, then Jesus will be accused of the Law-breaker. Jesus pause for a while, stood up straight and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” (John 8:1-11). People were condemned by their own sins and the woman went back home with the assurance of forgiveness. Jesus is smart? Yes, yes, yes!
Jesus is holy and glorious and loving – and smart.
I adore you more Jesus.
“Be as shrewd as snakes!” Amen.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.