But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town. Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades. The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” (Luke 10:10-16 ESV)
Rejection. We fear it. It’s a defensive part of volleyball and basketball. We do it in fear and pain. Rejection is a powerful human action. In a sense, it’s also a divine action. While the word is not used, the action of not regarding the sacrifice of Cain was rejection of the sacrifice. But also keep in mind that God continued to speak with Cain. It was rejection of his sacrifice, not of Cain, not until later after he killed Abel.
Here in this passage, rejection is referred to as “rejection” but also in terms of not being received. And Jesus reserves a harsh judgement for such activity. Consider that for a moment. Rejection and harsh judgement are things we are not terribly comfortable with. We fear them both. Yet these woes and judgements of Jesus were to be encouragement to the seventy He was sending out. In the face of rejection, the seventy were to respond with a challenge to the village. Shaking the dust from the feet, but also a call that the Kingdom of God has come near regardless of your rejection.
The truth is I fear rejection. I fear what others think of me. And I shouldn’t. Think about it sure, but fear it, no. There’s no cause for me to fear it. The truth is that when I bring the Kingdom of God near to others, they become responsible to receive or reject. In a sense I have brought them to a terrible precipice. The judgement they incur on themselves when they reject the Kingdom is severe. Yet notice that the judgement is for the “day”. In other words, once the Kingdom comes near, even should they reject it, they have time. They can repent, change their minds.
So bringing the Kingdom of God near to people is both a danger to them, but also a hope. They may reject, but they may, after rejecting, repent. Yet all I can think of is myself, how will I feel, what if they don’t like me, how uncomfortable with I be, and so on in additional nauseating procession. I want to be thought well of by others. Well phoey on that! Who cares? While that’s easy to say and to write, it’s hard for me to live out. But I must. It’s not an option, it’s an imperative. I must live out fearless transmission of the Kingdom of God to those around me. For the Kingdom of God has indeed come near to them. They need to know that.
I need to change. What do you need to do? What’s your view through the knothole?