“Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. 12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. 15 I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. 16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Matthew 10: 11-16
Those who were sent had to possess peace. It is suggested that the use of peace here refers to a condition or state of tranquility, exempt from havoc and rage of war. They were to leave their peace on the home that received them.
Note here also if they are not received they are to retrieve that peace and leave. The responsibility given to the messenger is only to share the message. If it is received, they bless those who receive and it is noted in God’s kingdom. If it is not received, they are to move on, leave no blessing and again it is noted in God’s kingdom.
They were warned that they would not always be received. No rose-colored glasses here. Sheep moving among wolves is a strong warning. No surprises. Along with the warning is the statement to be as shrewd, some say cunning, as snakes and as innocent, some say inoffensive, as doves. What do we know about snakes? They can get into and out of places with no one noticing what they are doing?…What do we know about doves? They are a symbol of love, they do not force their presence on the other birds at a feeder. They are symbols of peace.
We, then, if we plan to carry the message of the kingdom should first possess the peace that we speak of. We should be aware the message will not always be received. We should realize our responsibility rests in sharing the message, not manipulating others or forcing a personal view on another. We should possess the cunning of a snake and be as innocent as a dove. We carry peace, a peace that comes from an assurance we are considered able to do the work of the kingdom. A peace that does not wage war, manipulating, oppressing a ‘conquered’ foe. We share… giving something as an outright gift. Giving the peace we possess, giving the life that comes with the message of the kingdom, giving love…