21 May 2011

Acts 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.

To Ponder

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?

Bible notes author

Deacon Sue Culver

Sue was born in the north-east of England, moving to live in Mansfield in her late teens. She worked in various administrative jobs until she 'retired' to start a family.