Thoughts on Matthew 10:13-14
Should Christians ever back away from ministering to somebody? Should we ever leave or should we continue to pursue ministering the same folks after they have rejected us?
Last Sunday, in our Sunday School lesson, there was a couple of scriptures (Matthew 10:13-14) that caught my eye. I thought to myself, I’m going to have to share this scripture! Overall, the lesson was about when Jesus had first sent out the disciples to teach (Matthew 10:1-15). I hope you will take a moment to read that scripture.
Jesus says to them:
5 These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.Matthew 10:5-6 NKJV
This, at first glance, would sound like Jesus only wants for Israel to be saved. However, that is actually far from the truth. We must first take a look at ourselves and make necessary corrections before we can go out and teach or preach to somebody else. I actually preached a sermon on that subject about a month ago – Building and Growing Through Proper Judgment. Definitely give that sermon a read if you would like.
Knowing when to let it go
As Christians, we must learn when it is time to step away. Jesus said something to His disciples that we often overlook nowadays.
13 If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.Matthew 10:13 NKJV
The apostles, when they visited a home, would do so in the hopes of being able to share the message of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 10:7). Some of those who would hear this message would welcome the message. To those, Jesus tells the disciples to share their peace with those people. On the flip side of this, there would be some people who wouldn’t want to hear the message of the kingdom of heaven. What were the apostles supposed to do in that case?
This truly is a remarkable lesson for us today. I say this because while nobody is an apostle (even though many like to claim the title), we are all disciples (followers) of Christ. There are certain guidelines that had to be met to be called an apostle of Christ. One rule was that you would have had to physically follow Christ in person. None of us can attest to doing that today because we all follow Christ spiritually. (This train of
Many of us are driven to share the name of Christ with any and everybody. We are so filled with the Holy Spirit that we cannot hold it in! There will be quite a few folks who will welcome the message of Christ with open arms. On the other hand, there will be plenty of folks who won’t be so welcoming. In those cases, what are we supposed to do?
How we should react to those that don’t believe
Jesus actually tells the apostles, “let your peace return to you”. In other words, if they reject hearing the kingdom of heaven, accept that fact and do not argue it. There was a guy that I used to follow on social media that could not understand “letting it go”. You see, the genuine believer should persuade listeners and not force. He felt that he should continue forcing the message of Christ no matter how someone felt and that’s not right.
He is not the only believer that share this opinion as there are many who believe this same thing. This fellow ended up telling me he felt persecuted because folks started mocking him when rejecting the word. He would return to this place day after day, and be rejected day after day. I explained to him that he was not being persecuted but he felt it was his right to share the message of Christ wherever he felt. When the believer starts to persecute others, that’s when you know you have gone too far.
No longer sharing peace
His mistake, in my opinion, is that he was not being respectful of others. Jesus essentially is telling His disciples to be respectful of others beliefs. Truthfully, Jesus knew that not everybody would accept Him or His way. So, Jesus tells the disciples to also accept that fact and hold your peace.
Often times, when we do not accept someone’s opinions or beliefs as Christians, we can become hostile. The truth is that people are allowed to believe whatever they want! We must understand that God created us in that very manner. If God wanted everybody to believe in Him, He would snap His finger and it would be done! We cannot force our ways on anybody just like we wouldn’t want them to force their ways on us.
Don’t take that rejection personally
Look at what Jesus said next:
14 And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.Matthew 10:14 NKJV
People take rejection personally, no matter the type of rejection. Those who minister the word of God are especially no different. We become filled with the question of wondering how someone could reject Jesus? And in that question, we become filled with emotion and for some that emotion is anger. Unfortunately, that emotion becomes both hostile and off-putting.
We cannot become that way when somebody chooses not to receive us or hear the word of God. Jesus tells us to depart and shake the dust off from our feet. In other words, don’t let it get to you! The way of Christ is a way of peace. When people rejected Christ, He would walk away and leave those people in peace.
I see it too often nowadays to where we cannot simply let people have their peace in their beliefs. We don’t want to see their peace as being peace because not believing in God bothers us. However, as Paul said, let us live peaceably with all men.
It is possible for the word of God to be rejected today and for you to leave that person in peace. You never know, that very same person may one day return to you with questions about the faith. We have to learn how to deal with one another better when it comes to these types of matters. I truly think that all begins with us as believers.