5 And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.
6 And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.
1901 ASV Translation:
5 And as many as receive you not, when ye depart from that city, shake off the dust from your feet for a testimony against them.
6 And they departed, and went throughout the villages, preaching the gospel, and healing everywhere.
I. Whosoever Will Not Receive You.
A. The issue of the preaching is this: a response is not only inevitable, it is required and not only is it required, there are consequences.
B. The issue of "not receiving" automatically indicates "reasons", but "reasons" that are used to discount "Truth" are unreasonable.
C. The overwhelming focus of biblical revelation in regard to "receiving" the Truth is negative.
1. The pronouncements of "Woe" against the cities in which many miracles were done indicate a pronounced aversion in human beings to submission to the Truth.
2. The Lukan record of the declaration that Capernaum was destined to eternal destruction (10:15) after having been exalted to heaven is pretty much an "in your face" kind of statement that "evidence" means pretty much nothing to human beings when it comes to responding to God.
a. It is an interesting fact that the bottom line in "revelation" is "information unto results" but human beings are decidedly rebellious against "facts".
b. Why would God emphasize the revelation of the Truth in the midst of a host for whom Truth means little to nothing?
3. One must look diligently in the historical records of the Bible to find any indicators that the "masses" ever respond to the Truth; the overwhelming testimony of such records is that men are enslaved to sin and disinterested in being saved from it.
II. Shaking the Dust From Your Feet.
A. At issue: how many times does one "present the Gospel" to someone before their response is accepted?
1. There is no answer to this. The death of Jesus opened the "freedom of God" to the option of "grace" and no one can tell if/when He may choose to be gracious.
2. When there is no answer, men who wish to be faithful simply have to walk through time a day at a time and attempt to be faithful to what they do know.
B. The "witness": an overt declaration of absolutely no "fellowship" with those who reject; not even the "dust" that incidentally attached itself to their feet was to be "accepted" by them.
1. There is, in the "witness" issue, an implication of "greater grace": for what purpose is a "witness" if not to seek to adjust someone's reaction?
2. Even when the "witness" is condemnatory, its reason for being must signal the reality that someone will profit from it.
III. The Proclamation and the Healings.
A. Given the "healings", the natural response of rejection was going to be muted somewhat because the "benefits" often outweighed the "irritation" the message produced.
B. There is this in the coupling of the message to the healings: most people do recognize, at least to some degree, that it is pretty much inexcusable to accept the benefits while despising the message. Most folks will only go so far in cutting off their noses in order to spite their faces. Granted, there are those who will not only cut off their own noses, but will attempt to mutilate everyone around them who disagrees with them, but this kind of zealotry is rare.
C. Throughout this brief record one thing stands out: the message exists to be proclaimed so that it might have a beneficial impact. This makes all of the calumny raised against God a lie. Even when men are at their worst, God is still active in making Truth known with no apparent personal gain other than the greater loyalty of those for whom Truth is the medium of "Life". And even this brings Him nothing that He needs; it only enhances the experience of "Life" for those for whom He acts.