Read Luke 10
There is a lot going on in this chapter of Luke, so I thought I’d just focus on one issue that came up for me while reading this chapter. In verse 11 Jesus tells his disciples to move on if people reject them and say something like ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you.’
What should we do with this? Does this mean I’m meant to shake the dust off my metaphorical feet (they’re actually quite clean most of the time honestly) and move on from my friends and family who don’t want to hear about Jesus?
I just want to share with you another passage that occurs later on in Luke which I think helps us see that this is probably not the application. In Luke 22:35-38, we read a discussion between Jesus and his disciples that occurred during the last supper
35 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”
“Nothing,” they answered.
36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. 37 It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’[b]; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfilment.”
38 The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”
“That’s enough!” he replied.
I think this second passage really helps us interpret and understand the first in Luke 10. Firstly, Jesus explicitly brings to fulfilment some of the commands he gave his disciples. I think this shows that the mission Jesus sent his disciples on in Luke 10 was a specific mission that was particularly designed to prepare the way for “where he himself was about to go”. In light of this, I think there are particular, unique, things about this mission that are no longer binding for Christian mission. For instance, Jesus clearly wants his disciples to take a bag with them now. And his harsh reply/rebuke of “that’s enough”, only makes sense if we understand his command to buy a sword and bring a bag, more generally as a command of being prepared.
In light of this, I think there is some aspects of the first mission that Jesus sent his disciples on that were fulfilled during the time of Jesus, and some that are timeless for us today.
Therefore, I for one am not going to give up on sharing my faith with those who don’t want to hear it. I would love to encourage you to do the same and to keep going even if sometimes you do feel discouraged, like moving on, or shaking off that dust off your feet.
Keen to hear you think are the timely and timeless principles of this mission for Jesus’ disciples today.