Shake off the dust!
Scripture reading for January 12th: Matthew 10:1-23, Psalms 9:1-10, Proverbs 3:1-2
Jesus first taught His disciples to go out and preach to those who were lost in Israel. “As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:7-8) They were empowered with authority to take the message of repentance to the Jewish people and to demonstrate God’s willingness and ability to heal and deliver. They had not bought these gifts, but had freely received the power from Jesus and must freely give to all who would receive. They were also to travel light and live off the gifts and hospitality of those that they would preach to. Each worker was worthy of his keep!
Jesus knew that not everyone would receive them with hospitality. Some would reject the message and maybe even mistreat these disciples. He told them up front so they would not become discouraged or surprised by the treatment. In fact, Jesus gave them some practical advice for dealing with those who would not receive: “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:14-16)
When we share the gospel of Jesus Christ with people, we are doing more than we may realize. Every time we share, God is offering eternal life to those that hear. They will be held accountable for their actions. If they refuse the messengers, they are rejecting God and bring eternal judgment of God’s wrath on themselves. If they hear and accept, they bring God’s favor and and eternal life into their soul. Jesus told the disciples that they were to shake the dust off their feet upon leaving the homes or town where they were not welcomed. That dust would be a witness against those who rejected the Lord’s messengers. They were not to waste time trying to argue or debate because they must go to others who would receive. We are sent as messengers, not as lawyers! This takes the burden off us as we freely offer God’s Gospel!