Shake Off the Dust – (Luke 9)

The opening verses of Luke chapter 9 are about one of the times that Jesus sent His apostles out “to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.” In it, Luke tells us that He had given them the power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. Jesus gave them instructions about choosing who to stay with, and to “shake the dust from their feet” when they and their message are not well received. This is akin to what Jesus said about not casting “your pearls before swine” in Matthew 7:6. Wasting one’s time continuing to try to convince someone who refuses to hear the truth means time lost that could be used to help someone who will listen. Verse 6 tells us that “they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.” These facts are the only important points of these few verses.

Jesus' discples were honored to listen to Him teach daily. Jesus had special teaching for The Twelve, His twelve disciples or apostles

Jesus’ discples were honored to listen to Him teach daily. Jesus had special teaching for The Twelve, His twelve disciples or apostles

Nevertheless, we feel the need to address something of less importance here. This account is contained in all three synoptic gospels (see Matthew 10:5-15 and Mark 6:7-13), but there is some difference in the Greek, and in the way that the three writers use those different verbs that is very puzzling, when one compares them (Mark actually appears to tell them to take a staff, while the others say that Jesus said not to). This, of course, makes them very ripe for skeptics who devote their time to trying to prove that there are contradictions in God’s word. There is no contradiction, of course. But this is perhaps the most difficult example to understand, and requires no small amount of critical analysis in order to do so.

Before beginning this analysis, it is important to understand that all three gospel writers are trying to convey a couple of important facts that are related to the confusing language. The first is that the apostles’ mission in this instance is urgent, and time is of the essence. Jesus has plans to send out “the seventy-two” to do the same thing in Luke 10 after the apostles get back (notice that the 72 are told not to carry any sandals, etc.). This training is important, and He has much more training for His apostles, many more miracles to perform, and a great deal of other teaching to do before “His time” is up. Secondly, part of the training Jesus is giving them is to teach them to depend on (and trust) God for their needs.

Bible-time shoes were often sandals, such as these.

Bible-time shoes were often sandals, such as these.

So in light of all of this, what the three gospel writers are conveying is that Jesus wants them to go now, and as they are, and do not take extra provisions. Matthew uses the Greek word “ktaomai,” meaning they are not to acquire or procure the things mentioned there. Mark uses the word “airo,” meaning “to take” – instructing them to take the things He tells them to, but not others, and to wear sandals, but to not put on two tunics.

But Luke, in telling them not to take the things mentioned here, does not use the word “ktaomai” because when he uses that word, he uses it in the sense of meaning “to buy or earn” (as in  Luke 18:12, Acts 1:18, and Acts 8:20). Instead, he uses the word “airo,” but he uses it in the sense of the meaning “to acquire” – meaning do not acquire these things (as in Luke 19:21-22). He certainly would not be telling them that they must take their sandals off and leave them behind!

(For a more detailed analysis, please see this article at

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at  

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