One day Jesus called together His twelve disciples and gave them power and authority to cast out all demons and to heal all diseases. Then He sent them out to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. “Take nothing for your journey,” He instructed them. “Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money, or even a change of clothes. Wherever you go, stay in the same house until you leave town. And if a town refuses to welcome you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.” So they began their circuit of the villages, preaching the Good News and healing the sick.Luke 9:1-6
There are some curious comments at the end of this section. Note the first element which reads “Wherever you go, stay in the same house until you leave town.” It is almost like Jesus is telling them, when you go to a new town and someone offers you a place to stay, stay there. Don’t move to another place if you get a better offer. Remember they have no staff, no bag, no food, no money and no change of long johns. Beggars can’t be choosers is kind of what He is saying. Whoever offers you a place first, stay there. Don’t be moving constantly if someone else offers you a better place. That is not the way to win friends and influence people. Be humble and accept your lot.
But if on the other hand you are not offered anything and the people of the town reject you then shake the dust off your feet and move on. What on earth does this mean? This is not based on some idiomatic saying or deep comment. It is a Hebrew cultural practice. This is tied to Jewish / Gentile differences. The Jews would “shake the dust off their feet” when leaving a Gentile’s home, town or area before returning to their own home or area. The symbolism is linked to the notion of removing the unclean thing from you so that you are ceremonially pure returning home. In this case we are talking about the Galilee area. The act of shaking the dust off the feet is directed at fellow Jews. The disciples were encouraged to adopt the practice normally used for Gentiles and apply it to their Jewish brothers and sisters if they were not received in a town. The message to the Jews of the town would be a strong one. We are removing the uncleanness from ourselves and moving on and acting as though you are Gentiles to us. The notion is also to leave them in their state of uncleanness. As the text tells us – abandon them to their fate. I.e. “You are unclean and unsaved.” You are as though you are ceremonially unclean like the Gentiles. A powerful message to a group of Jews. I wonder if there were any people in any town they visited who called them back to ask why they were being treated like Gentiles. In Paul’s terms they may be ceremonially Jews and have been circumcised and practicing Judaism but in matters of holiness and right standing before God, by not accepting the message of the Christ, the Messiah of God, they leave themselves without hope.
Rejection is inevitable. If you preach the gospel or are associated with Jesus in any way you will be rejected. Jesus said, “If they reject Me they will reject you.” Following Christ means you will face opposition and rejection. It is to be expected. Don’t take it to heart and feel it personally. It is nothing you have done. The decision to reject Christ is the option Jesus gives to every person who ever walked this earth. Sometimes we Christians worry about preaching the gospel because our message might be rejected. We might be rejected in other words. I have news for you, and it is all bad. Yes if you open your mouth and talk about Jesus you will be rejected. Learn to deal with it. God determined it to be this way. Christ came to divide families and friends and people. Not because He sought to make enemies but because the very message of salvation causes people to react. Love Him or hate Him but don’t ignore Him. Your life and the lives of everyone you meet will be measured in terms of what they have done with the Christ. “He came to seek and save the lost as Luke will say in 19:10. But know too as John wrote “He came to own things (His own created beings) but they rejected Him.” (John 1:11) but John 1:11 is following by John 1:12. “To those who believe in His name He gave the right to become children of God.” There is the dividing line drawn right there. Rejection or acceptance of Christ. You can’t change that, each must decide what side of the line they wish to align with, and in so doing they choose their fate. Hence these disciples abandon the town which rejects the message to their fate. It is a universal outcome based on each person’s decision. Don’t let rejection put you off sharing the gospel. They are not rejecting you or the way you have shared the gospel, they are rejecting Christ. The Gospel is foolishness to those who are so self-sufficient and want to have a hand in their own salvation.
With these words of warning from Jesus, Luke tells us, the disciples (the Twelve) began their ministry in and around Galilee. They preached the Good News and they healed the sick. The authority of Jesus and the associated signs of confirmation that this was from God attended them but still people rejected the message. That is how it will always be. Everyone has a free choice. Don’t let the fear of rejection put you off sharing the Gospel. It is to be expected. Steel yourself and get used to it. They are not rejecting you; they are rejecting the King of Kings and their only hope for salvation, but after all the choice is theirs.
It is a poor sermon that gives no offense; that neither makes the hearer displeased with himself nor with the preacher.George Whitefield
Until We Reject Worldly Behaviour, The Promises Of Heaven Are Just Beyond Our Reach.Robb Thompson
What other people think of you is none of your business.Regina Brett
In a day when you don’t come across any problems you can be sure that you are travelling on the wrong path.Anon
Aspire to Inspire Before You Expire.Ian Vail