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.”Luke 9:4-5
“Whenever you enter someone’s home, first say, ‘May God’s peace be on this house.’ If those who live there are peaceful, the blessing will stand; if they are not, the blessing will return to you. Don’t move around from home to home. Stay in one place, eating and drinking what they provide. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve their pay.
“If you enter a town and it welcomes you, eat whatever is set before you. . . . But if a town refuses to welcome you, go out into its streets and say, “We wipe even the dust of your town from our feet to show that we have abandoned you to your fate.Luke 10:6-11
It is interesting that the disciples were encouraged to not meet people on the road and get in conversation with them or even greet them, but rather to visit people in their homes. Why is that? In Bible so many times salvation comes to the household. It is you and your household who come to receive the truth. Not just the individual. The family is consider as a unit. So hence the decision is made on behalf of the whole group. It is not seen as an individual decision. Having an encounter with the household in the Middle Eastern cultural setting allows the opportunity to reach the whole household. This scene could also describe a visit from the Jehovah’s witness or the Mormon’s when they come in pairs and they target you at home. It is like they feel you are at home on your turf and would be more wiling to dialogue with them. If the response is unwelcoming, which incidentally goes against the culture in the Middle East setting, the sense of the Hebrew cultural practice of wiping off the dust is to cut communication or ties with those who refuse a welcome and will not receive the message.
Notice the difference between the two stages of sending the disciples out. In both circumstances it is a case of leaving the unwelcoming, unresponsive people to their fate. The 12 disciples were to shake the dust off as a sign. There were not necessarily words involved, just the symbolic act of shaking the dust off. If that is the way you receive us and our message of peace then we cut all ties with you. Your final position or eternal condition is of your own doing because you have rejected the Prince of Peace. The 72 disciples were to tell the people the significance of the symbolism. They were to wipe the dust of their feet in the streets not just in the one home where they received a unwelcoming response. But rather out in the street as a sign to all householders that they were cutting ties with them. A clear message that their eternal state was of their own choosing because they had rejected the message. They were to say ” We wipe even the dust of your town from our feet to show that we have abandoned you to your fate.” i.e. Make it clear that their fate is because of their unwillingness to listen.
Our response to the message of Christ is what determines our eternal state. That is how God has determined our salvation ultimately. It is what you do with the Christ that determines your end state. Entry into the Kingdom of God is determined by your response to Jesus Christ. He is the only way or means by which God has given so that mankind might be saved. He is God’s “way of salvation”. Choose your response carefully. Luke begins this “Journey to Jerusalem”, this summary of Jesus’ teaching about the Kingdom of God, with the sober message “be careful how you respond to the Christ.” There is much to say about this and Luke continues the theme of the Son of Man coming to seek and to save the lost throughout his gospel. The message unfolds as we move toward Jerusalem. At this point though it reminds me strongly of those cults who come to your door in two’s with their message. I am talking about the Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Two pseudo Christian cults which totally reject the notion of Christ being our Saviour, Redeemer God.
As I told you yesterday it reminded me of a funny encounter I had with the Jehovah’s witness representatives in New Zealand years ago. Yes it is clear to me you want to hear the story. I have had lots of people making sure there were ten responses so they could hear the story. Well here it is:
In our time living in NZ I would regularly have visits from the Jehovah’s Witnesses. But instead of refusing them I would invite them in to talk, much to their surprise. But I was prepared for them when they came. I had gathered lots of material (courtesy of two men in Sydney, Australia, who had gathered and organized the JW’s own material to point out the errors of Jehovah’s Witness teaching) and was organized to discuss with them anything they wanted to talk about. But I would explain to them before we started that there were some ground rules which they had to agree to before we started. I would tell any JW representatives who came that I didn’t like the way they would change the subject if the discussion got uncomfortable for them. They had to agree to stick with the subject they had chosen to talk about at the beginning. Which mostly they readily agree to. I would tell them they could choose what we talked about, but one thing I asked is that we stayed with that topic and didn’t change from topic to topic when they felt backed into a corner or defeated.
Over a period of time only the head elder of the Jehovah’s witness would come to our door. I found out from a comment made by one of the other JW people that others were not allowed to visit me, only the leader and his partner. Well one day two JWs knocked at the door who were not the head elder and his partner. These were “new kids on the block”. They asked to talk to me at the back door and to their surprise I invited them in. I explained the ground rules and let them choose what we talked about. They chose to talk about the name of Jehovah and how it was God’s special name. A topic I was delighted with because it was easy to point out the error of their teaching on that topic. We started discussion and within a few minutes (not more than 10) they wanted to leave. The discussion was getting uncomfortable for them. But I wouldn’t let them leave until I was allowed to finish the point I was making about their erroneous teaching. Well after that they were desperate to leave and so I offer to prayed for them before they left. That made them want to leave quicker.
I noticed when they walked out of our driveway that they turned left to go next door to our neighbours on the side left side of our house. They were good friends from our church in Matamata. We had a gate in our fence at the back of the house so we could freely go between our house to visit. As the JWs turned left to head for John and Lynn’s I said to Tania, “I will race over to warn John that the JW’s are coming.” and I quickly went out of the back door and through the back gate to John’s. When I knocked on the door he was just inside the door and opened it immediately. I told him the JWs were coming and to be ready for them.
He said “Oh Ian, I can’t be bothered talking with them. They don’t ever listen to what I have to say. You go.”
I said, “I would love to.”
As I went inside John and Lynn’s place the JW people knocked at the front door. So I went to my neighbour’s front door to receive them. As I opened the door the older of the two was bending down to get his material out of his bag. The other person was the first one to see me and a look of horror came over his face as he recognised me as the man they had just left in the previous house. His jaw dropped open and he stood there speechless. The older man then having gathered his material stood up and looked up to see me standing there. He too had a shocked look on his face and then very quickly shook my hand and said, “Thank you.” He then bent down again and put his material back into his bag and they turned around and left. John’s was standing watching it all unfold and “laughing” so much.
I must admit if there had been a gate between John’s house and the next house down the street I would have been tempted to do it again. I would have followed them down the street to answer the door each time they knocked.
There are times when our message will be rejected. It is not for you to determine what people’s reaction will be to the message of Christ. You can only share the truth of the Gospel and then leave the recipient to do with it what they will. If your message is rejected, “wipe the dust off your feet and move on”. Abandon them to their fate determined by what they have done with the Christ.[Yes I am very aware that in this story I was not the one “moving on”, they were moving not me. But the call for response to the claims of Christ was theirs to deal with. That is the way God has determined it to be.
He came to His own people, and even they rejected Him. But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God.John 1:11-12
The seventy-two disciples were told to wipe the dust off their feet and at the same time explain to their audience the symbolism of what they were doing.
Be careful what you do with the Christ. Your ultimate destination is determined by your response to Him.
Difficult people around you now will train you for your future. You’ll have broader mind, tougher mental attitude, forgiving heart, and wiser mouth.Lucia Agustina
The essence of sin is man substituting himself for God; the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man.John Stott
The”CROSS is offensive” because it offends our pride. We want to think we’re good enough to enter heaven without it.Rick Warren
Jesus doesn’t need you to add your works to His sacrifice. Don’t try to pay for something that He already paid for.Joyce Meyer