that’s what Jesus told His disciples to do in Matthew 10:14, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.” In other words, when you are rejected, when you fail, “shake the dust off your feet.”
To me, having clean feet symbolizes having a fresh start, a new beginning, a clean slate – reminding me of God’s mercies, which are “new every morning.” I don’t have to bring the dirt from where I’ve been into the new place where I am going. That would only serve to muddy the waters in my new place right from the start.
Jesus disciples were traveling long distances on foot over dirty, dusty roads. Over time the dust would began to accumulate; dirt becoming mud, building up with the miles on their feet, sticking to them – a reminder of all the places they had been. Jesus didn’t want them to carry reminders of their past rejections with them into their new destinations. And so He commanded them, “shake the dust off your feet when you leave.” Travel light!
Rejections, failures, disappointments, like dust, can accumulate over time and if not washed off will build up, becoming a heavy load to carry that only increases as time passes. Unless we realize we have already been given permission to “shake the dust off” of our feet. I have been invited to lay down my heavy load and instead to take up my cross and follow Him whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light.
Imagine such a trade – dust for a cross? Which would I rather carry? Dust which seems so light, so scattered, so unsubstantial, or a heavy wooden cross? But the truth is – the weight of the cross is lighter by far than the weight of the dust; the dust that appears so deceptively light even as it clings to me, weighing me down as it accumulates over time, layer upon layer, with every mile I travel in this life. Unless . . .
Unless what? Unless I shake the dust off my feet and shake it off often. But I need more. I need done for me what Jesus did for His disciples before they all ate the last supper together. Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. He knew they would need a clean slate, a fresh start to be able to carry on His work after His resurrection and ascension into heaven. Or maybe He knew they needed any and all previous burdens of dust (sin, failure, defeat, the “dust” of this world) removed before they faced the more immediate events of His trial, crucifixion and burial.
And so Jesus washed their feet. I don’t want to make the mistake Peter did at first, not wanting Jesus to wash his feet. But Jesus said to him, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with Me.” (John 13:8) I cannot clean myself up, I need a Savior to do for me what I do not have the power to do for myself.
” ‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’ ” (Isaiah 1:18)
“Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7)
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify (cleanse) us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
Just as Jesus washed the feet of the disciples clean, ridding them of the accumulated dust and dirt from the day; Jesus will likewise clean away my accumulated dust and dirt by forgiving my sins when I ask Him. I don’t have to carry the dust of this world with me on my journey; the dust from the roads I travel and have traveled; the dust that so silently seeps in and settles oh so subtly on my soul, blocking out the light of Christ’s love and life – leaving me in darkness. I just have to carry my cross – that’s all.
That’s all Jesus asks me to carry. He is the washer of my feet, giving me a clean slate, giving me a new beginning every morning because of His limitless mercy.
I ask Him to “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. . . . Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:2 & 10)
Jesus commands me to shake off the dust, so that is just what I will do. Shake off the dust, take up my cross and follow Him.
sincerely, Grace Day