21 May 2011Acts 13:44-52
"So they shook the dust off their feet in protest against them" (v. 51)
The Gospel advice (eg Matthew
10:14) to itinerant preachers is to shake the dust from your
feet and move on. This is the action that we seen at the end of
some pretty heavy speeches made by Paul in on his journey from
Paphos to Antioch. For example, he had reminded those in the
synagogue and other God fearers of their history as the people of
Israel, leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus,
using Scripture to reflect on the significance of these events. He
has now told those whom he addresses that what was offered and
available in Jerusalem was also on offer here. However they were
running the risk of making the same error of judgement as those in
Jerusalem did, by not receiving in faith the promise of salvation
through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
By the next Sabbath, great crowds had gathered to hear more of this promise, which was where the trouble started (again). The Jews became hostile toward the Gentile (non-Jewish) crowds, who were glad to hear that the promise was also extended to them. The Jews were, in effect, punishing themselves because Paul feels that having told them first, he was now free to preach to the Gentiles. Finally the Jews stir up trouble for Paul and Barnabus who leave town, shaking the dust off their feet as they go.
When was the last time that you shook the dust off your feet and left? How did that feel? What drove you to the point that meant this was your only response to a situation?
How do you understand the verse "I have set you to be a light" (v. 47) in your own journey of discipleship and how does that have visible expression?