Not only is the missioner’s mission the mission of Jesus, the missioner represents Jesus. One can say that the missioner is the presence of Jesus wherever the missioner is. Think about that.
1. Missioners are to seek out a “worthy” person — that is someone who responds to the kingdom.
2. Missioners enter the home — this is a hospitality custom — by declaring the peace of Jesus.
3. Missioners utter performative words: the words they say, because they represent Jesus, are the words of Jesus are the words of God. Be careful, but don’t be afraid of this.
4. Missioners declare the peace of God and the judgment of God and they “enact” the latter not only with words but with visible, evocative action: shaking dust off was the way some re-entered the Land of Israel from the diaspora by shaking off Gentile dust. However it is explained, it is a dramatic act of dismissal, disapproval, and judgment.
5. How people respond to Jesus is how they respond to the missioners.
6. Missioners of the missional Jesus need to be wise and shrewd and not gullible and foolish.
Which means this grave truth: missioners represent Jesus.
Our text is Matthew 10:11-16:
Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at that person’s house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”