“See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you.” vs. 19
Those who have discovered that they share their homes with scorpions are likely glad that they have been given authority from Jesus to tread upon them, preferably while wearing thick soled shoes. But it’s a bit of a mystery why such a verse should have made it into scripture. A few literalists believe that this presents the supreme test of faith, and some have made snake handling a regular part of their worship services. It’s much more likely however that such spectacles are the last thing Jesus had on his mind and that he meant his words to be interpreted figuratively, as a vivid and picturesque way to assure the disciples that nothing will hurt them as they walked in his Way. But beyond literalism, there is another danger that comes with using this kind of language to describe evil. Not only is it unfair to snakes and scorpions, adding to their already bad reputation, it supports a dualist understanding of existence, i.e. some things are inherently evil, and others pure goodness. And that’s just not the way things are. Snakes and scorpions are a part of the creation and as such contain within themselves aspects of good and evil, in the same way that humans do. There are a lot of things that can trip us up on our journey–but with the Spirit as our guide we are going to be okay.
Thought for the Day: How can I be hurt?