Blessings on you all this week, sons and daughters of God! Enjoy the taste of summer. I pray your families are healing fast or avoiding the flu.
May the work of your hands, your thoughts and your desires glorify God. May your homes be full of the joy of salvation; showing hospitality to God and his messengers.
Filling up the edges
The success of the disciple’s mission is hospitality. Those who are hospitable to the disciples are giving way to the gospel mission. Those who welcome the disciples, make them comfortable, give them a ready ear; accept the call to repentance and obedience are manifesting and spreading the kingdom of God.
Jesus anticipated that some places wouldn’t welcome the disciples. There are always some who would rather stay sick than face the bracing challenge of a new way of life, a new outlook.
But the disciples are to respond with a solemn symbolic action, shaking the dust of the place off of themselves. But what does this symbolic gesture mean? We know from the oral traditions of the Jews that it was customary for Jews to shake foreign dust off their clothes when they had been traveling outside the Holy Land.
By this action they dissociated themselves from the pollution of those lands and their ultimate judgment. An analogous action on the part of the disciples would declare that a village was pagan in character. It would provide warning that the disciples had fulfilled their responsibility and that those who had rejected the mission would have to answer to God.37
The removal of dust from the feet belongs to the category of symbolic realism; it is a prophetic act designed to provoke thought on the part of the rejecting villagers.
The mission of the disciples has a selective character. Those who respond to Jesus are in. it’s not a kingdom based on ethnicity, education, income or any other worldly consideration and the symbolic act is a far cry from our near wholesale accommodation to unbelief.
We are far cry from shaking the dust of the world off of ourselves, we gather it up and put it in a pot, in which we plant our pet sins.
The Apostles presence in a town or village determines which of the inhabitants are open to the word of the Kingdom which they bear. Should they wipe the dust from their feet and break communication with a village they consign it to judgment.
This provision indicates that the coming of the disciples, like Jesus himself, had the character of sifting and gathering the true people of God. The apostles are given the keys to the kingdom.
The point here seems in the main to be about not having any more to do with that region, an implicit judgment since this would also mean they would never again hear the good news about the dominion of God. “Jesus’ words are portentous, coming so soon after the story of his own rejection in his home town.”
Mark’s breathless gospel focuses here on the disciples’ breathless mission: and if people won’t have it, there’s no time to lose. On to the next place, and woe to those who have missed their chance.
Let us observe, what solemn words our Lord uses about those who will not receive nor hear His ministers. He says, “it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment than for that city.” This is a truth which we find very frequently laid down in the Gospels. It is painful to think how entirely it is overlooked by many.
Thousands appear to suppose, that so long as they go to church, and do not murder, or steal, or cheat, or openly break any of God’s commandments, they are in no great danger. They forget that it needs something more than mere abstinence from outward irregularities to save a man’s soul.
They do not see that one of the greatest sins a man can commit in the sight of God, is to hear the Gospel of Christ and not believe it, —to be invited to repent and believe, and yet remain careless and unbelieving. And remember – obedience is hyper-hearing. Not hearing but hearing and DOING.
You think to yourself, “well, if an apostle or one of their assistants came to my house I would certainly let them him hospitably.”
Yet there your bible sits closed, unread, unwelcome, a dishonored guest.
Around the Web
To whet your appetite for the joys of summer and to support a great group of saints, doing good work.
you can become a patron of their work here:
Fixing my eyes on Christ HEBREWS 12:3
Grant, Almighty God,
since you have appeared in the person of your only begotten Son and have revealed in him your glory made visible; and, since you show us the same Christ through the window of the gospel: Grant that I, fixing my eyes on him, may not go astray, nor be led here and there after evil lies, the misleadings of Satan, and the allurements of this world. Instead, may I continue firm in the obedience of faith and persevere in it through the whole course of my life, until I am at last transformed into the image of your eternal glory, which now in part shines in me, through the same Christ our Lord.
Nate Cejka, Confession
Keith Gamble, Prayer
Wednesday, March 20, 8PM at the church
Wednesday, March 27, 7-9PM at Tami Gamble’s home.
GRACE AGENDA CONFERENCE
Keep Your Kids: A Conference on Child Rearing; April 5-6, Moscow Idaho. Register at graceagenda.com
GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE
Friday, April 19, 7pm at the Northshore Senior Center in Bothell
Wright, N. T.. Mark for Everyone (The New Testament for Everyone) (pp. 68-70). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.