Shake The Dust Off Your Feet - Directions From Jesus

How many times have I been preaching over the past 4 years, at our homeless shelter, to people who could care less about God's plan for peace with them? We warn them about Hell, we warn them about sin that destroys lives, we tell them about Jesus sacrifice... and nothing penetrates them, as far as we can see. Not only does the word not move them, in many cases they actively reject the word.

What are we to do with these people? We will not cease to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but what do we do with these people?

Jesus, in his infinite wisdom, taught his disciples about people like this.

Matthew 7:6 “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

Jesus knew before he sent out his disciples that there would be people who will not and can not accept the word of God, and more than just being apathetic, they are antagonistic towards God and His people. What does Jesus say? He doesn't tell us to "tone down" the message, or make it "seeker friendly", no instead he warns us to not bother with those people because they will waste your time and turn on you.

Shortly after this teaching, Jesus sends out the 12 disciples to preach the Gospel, and in the middle of his instructions to them and the warnings of what they should expect, Jesus gives this pointed instruction saying...

Matthew 10:14-15 if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.

What does this mean? This is a figurative expression, similar to our "washing our hands of it" expression. What Jesus is telling them is that they are to go and bring his message to everyone, but to those who refuse to receive them or listen to their message, then they have done what they could and they are free to move on. The rejection of the Gospel is one of the highest affronts to God that can be made.

We see Jesus instructions put into practice in Acts 13:50-51 where Paul and Barnabas were in Antioch. But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium.