October 9 I Sunday
“If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.”
When we are on mission for God, as much as we are making connections and searching for the person of peace, there is a reality that we may find ourselves in places that resist the activity of God. Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet” (Matthew 10:14). What Jesus was saying is not every region they embark on will be open to the message, even among the lost sheep of Israel, who patiently wait for the Messiah’s arrival. If the message and the evidence of the miracles are rejected, they are to keep calm and carry on.
Jesus, however, added a strong warning about those towns: “Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town” (Matthew 10:15). Some of us may get the impression that this is how we are to view all people across all cultures and generations that we witness to the reality of the gospel; if people do not respond, then we can shake the dust off our feet and say, “You are like Sodom and Gomorrah. You are just going to hell.” But considering the context, this is not what Jesus is saying.
We need to remember that the disciples were going to the lost sheep of Israel, to people who were keenly aware of the activity of God in the world. In fact, God had been at work among them for generations. In other words, the disciples were not going to a community completely unaware of God’s existence or His activity amongst humanity. Hence, when they rejected the message that the kingdom of heaven had come near, they were rejecting the activity of God among them, just as Sodom and Gomorrah did, but worse.
In the Old Testament, Sodom and Gomorrah were cities filled with corruption, arrogance and abuse. They rejected God and were hostile to the arrival of His angels. Therefore, if the people of that town rejected God’s activity among them, they were hardening their hearts, just as Sodom and Gomorrah did. Instead of freely receiving the cleansing and goodness that He has for them, they were actually embracing the darkness and remaining blind. Their destruction will be swift because they exchanged the truth of who Jesus is for a lie.
Jesus sent His disciples knowing that some would receive the kingdom with gladness, while others would hold on to their gloominess. Regardless of how people will respond to the message of Jesus Christ, we are called to faithfully go to these places and share the good news.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, no matter how people respond to Your good news of salvation, may I ever be faithful in proclaiming Your truth to this broken and lost world. Thank You, Lord.