I am always happy when these citations come up in our Bible lesson. Especially when the subject of the lesson is Christian Science. Pairing Christian Science and these directives makes for a powerful combination. It is very practical because you can apply these to whatever challenges come your way.
Jesus is speaking to his disciples and the gathered multitude. This tells me that what he is saying was not just restricted to those in the 'full time practice' of Christian Science, but to all who believe in him and want to live their life reflecting man as presented in the first acccount of creation in Genesis, man made in the image and likeness of God, a beloved cherished child. He assures them that such thoughts and prayers will result in these things happening -
1. they will cast out devils. We all have false beliefs that seem to sap our joy, our strength, our faith, our health. They can take so many forms, but none of them come from God or reflect His perfect, harmonious universe. Yet, they claim to have power over us to harm, frighten, limit, depress. Jesus says we will have the power to cast these out of thought and out of body.
2. they shall speak with new tongues. I loved this many years ago when I struggled with both a short temper and a tendency to be critical. As I learned more and more about Christian Science and saw it at work in my life, it was as if I had a 'new tongue', a gentler tone, a kinder response, and certainly, later on, the right words needed for healing.
3.they shall take up serpents. When I think about this one, I remember Moses' experience when God had him throw down his shepherd's rod and it suddenly transformed into a deadly viper. Moses was terrified and ran from it, but God instructed him to go back and pick it up. By the tail, no less! Moses obeyed and the 'serpent' transformed back into the rod. He learned a lesson in handling his fear of something and he also recognized an illusion for the lie that it was. Poison or threats can come to us in many forms and all of them trying to cause panic and fear. Jesus says we will be able to see right through the illusion and handle it with confidence.
4.if we drink any deadly thing it will not harm us. This too handles poisonous beliefs, but it can mean taking in anything that would alter or cause deterioration to our mind or body or human experience. It is alerting us to the company we choose to keep, the ideals we decided to follow, and the model we hold in thought. People make mistakes. That is not the problem, the problem is feeling that you must suffer the consequences. Learn the lesson and it will not have to be repeated.
5. we will lay hands on the sick and they will recover. It is not a physical thing. Although there were instances when Jesus reached out with great compassion to console someone lost in depression or pain. His touch gave strength and assurance. It caused them to look up. It was a special boon to the lepers, who by law were not allowed within 10' of another person. Jesus understood God's all-inclusive love and he showed it to everyone who came into his life. We can do the same. You have no idea how healing a smile or kind word can be. The ripples go out when we do some act of kindness and healing is the result.
Think on these messages from the Master today. He was talking to you.