Shake The Dust Off Your Feet – Luke 9:1-6
Opening Thought: So tonight I continue my reading in Luke. I’ve finally gotten to Luke 9 and I will warn you to both brace yourself and take courage. The reason I say that is because this passage is somewhat shocking to say the least. What Jesus says between verses 1 and 6 are very controversial; however, as followers of this man ‘Jesus’ we should take heed to see how the first 12 students responded to his instructions. Let’s see how Jesus tells us how to evangelize.
Scripture: Luke 9:1-6 ESV … And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.
Their Equipping: Jesus called the 12 disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons. Isn’t it comforting to know that Jesus is all Sovereign and there is none that has any power over Him? Those words are amazing, that there is no single demon in Hell that has power that is too great for Jesus. In fact He rules over them to such a huge degree that He can give out authority to human beings that have no power in and of themselves, to have power over them.
When a couple gets married, after they have repeated their vows, you may hear the Minister say something like this, “By the Power Vested in Me, I now Pronounce You Husband and Wife”. What power is he talking about? First, he is talking about the power from on High, the authority given to him by God. Some may be speaking of the authority given to them by their country, state or province via their ruling government. The man himself does not have the power to perform this ‘Holy Matrimony’ but because He has been given the power from a higher source he can do it.
Another idea is that a small police officer can arrest someone 3 times his size even if he does not have the strength to defeat him. The reason for this is because he has the government behind him and therefore the convict understands that he isn’t just looking at a 4 foot high, 90 lb officer, but a very powerful government who has given this small man much authority.
The reason I wanted to share those two short ideas is because these disciples in and of themselves had no power at all, but Jesus has all power over everything in the universe and beyond.
The Reason: Jesus always does everything with reason and purpose. Just like there is a reason for small police officers to arrest big men, there is a reason Jesus gave these disciples power over demons and also over disease. For the police officer, the reason is to keep the streets clean and safe and ultimately to carry out the task of the government, which is to protect lives. These disciples were heading into potentially hostile environments, they were going to basically reverse everything that the Jewish people had been taught by way of keeping the law of justification, and that what they needed to do now was to repent and believe the gospel. Mathew 10:5-6 tells us they were being sent to the lost sheep of Israel, not to the Gentiles. These miracles were to verify that they were commissioned by God and they had been with God for the purpose of bringing validity to their message.
Do Miracles Change Hearts: As we read in vs 5, there will be people who will reject the gospel even after seeing these miracles and signs. So we can conclude that the miracles were being performed so that people would not be guiltless when they rejected the message. Read Luke 16:31.
Scripture: Luke 16:31 ESV … He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’
Jesus is talking about a man who is in hell begging for someone to go tell his family about hell and that they need to repent. The response is that they already have the commandments from Moses (The Law of God) which should be convicting them of their sin, and they have the books of the Prophets calling them to repentance . So if they do not believe what they have been delivered, no miracle is going to convince them. Miracles do not save hard-hearted people, they simply verify that the word is authentic.
Their Mission: All of this equipping was for one mission alone, and that was to proclaim the message of the Gospel. Mark 6:12 of the same account says that, “They went and proclaimed that people should repent.” Repentance is a prerequisite for experiencing the good news, without repentance there is no true salvation. I once heard someone in church leadership say “repentance is not the only way people are saved, some are saved simply through His love”. That statement just isn’t true, no one is saved except through a sorrow filled heart of repentance.
Scripture: 2 Peter 3:19 ESV … not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance
Nothing Appealing About It: Now days there is such a draw to put on flashy meetings, have huge multi-million dollar buildings for churches, have massive productions and put on incredible rock shows. But seriously, is this the way we are to bring people to Jesus, by entertaining them and throwing in a slick message of how God has a rockin plan for their life? If this is how we win people to Christ then we have created a generation of entertainment driven, thrill-seekers that will only stay in church if it’s more entertaining than the world, or at least a close second. When I read passages like Luke 9, I would have to say that this type of thinking could be no further from the truth.
Jesus sent the disciples out with no money, no food, one coat, one pair of shoes and one set of clothes. When they arrived at there destination they would have been stinky and dirty, not flashy. These guys would likely not have made it into the front row seating of most of our modern-day churches based on their appearance. Who knows they may have even had an usher seat them appropriately in the back.
The reason Jesus told the disciples to go out like this is because He wanted them to deliver the raw gospel, he didn’t want them giving anything to people or taking payment for it. They were on one mission and that was to preach the word and to prove who sent them by the signs and wonders they performed. And that’s exactly what they did!
Be Satisfied: Vs5. Jesus says that they should go stay at one house that would take them in. If a home was to receive the message and feed them, then there were to stay in that home for the duration of their time in that specific town. hey were not to go from house to house perhaps seeking better and more comfortable accommodations. They were to rely entirely on God’s provision and to be satisfied with what they received.
Shake of the Dust: The term “Shake the dust off your feet” was a term used by the Jewish people when they would go through a Gentile city, or dwelling place. As they would leave that city they would literally shake the dust off their feet as a sign they were leaving that ungodly place to their ruin.
So when Jesus says “If they don’t receive you, when you leave the city, shake the dust off your feet” He was literally saying, you went, you preached, they heard and rejected, so leave them to their choice and there destruction and don’t even take the dust with you.
What have we done: Our church culture has built this model of evangelism that is so time consuming, so seeker friendly, so relation-ship style that we have forgotten what Jesus said. He said, ~ go preach, don’t be flashy about it, if they reject, leave!
This may seam heartless from a humanitarian viewpoint, but there is no other message to give them. The gospel is complete, and if it is rejected there is nothing you can do in your own power to make them love it.
If salvation belongs to the Lord, and no one comes unless the Father draws them, then my job is to obey and preach the gospel from a heart of obedience to my master, and move on if they reject, that’s His command.
Conclusion: Vs 6. The disciples left there and preached the gospel everywhere, which is exactly what Jesus commanded them to do. I think that many of us have a few select people that we think we’ve been called to win for Christ. In efforts to do that we befriend them, have BBQ’s with them, go to movies with them, and every once in a while slip Jesus name or church into the conversation. Most if not all our evangelistic efforts go into just a few people. The sad part about this is, that many times we haven’t even really shared the truth of the Gospel straight up with them because we’re too fearful. Or maybe we have shared and they have rejected the Gospel over and over and over again. Does this mean that we shouldn’t care about them or anguish over their decision? Of course not! Paul says in Romans 9,
Scripture: Romans 9:1 ESV … I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.
So you can see that Paul is anguishing over the fact they are rejecting the gospel. Paul is so extreme about his feeling toward them that he says “I could wish to be accursed and cut off from Christ for their sake”. I think it’s safe to say that Paul likely had more compassion then most of us based on that passage. Yet in Acts 18:6 we read,
Scripture: Acts 18:6 ESV … And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
Our heart breaks for people that reject the gospel, but it isn’t our job to camp out in one city, one home, with one or two people our entire lives while collecting dust of our feet. There are so many people out there that need to hear the gospel and YOU and I are called to go and declare it to them as quickly as we can, for the end is coming soon.
The command has been given by Jesus Christ, and for many of us it’s time to ‘Shake the dust off our feet and go Share the Gospel with everyone everywhere. Don’t get Dusty Feet!
Grace & Peace,