Wisconsin Lutheran Chapel logo

God’s Word for You

Luke 10:8-11 The pelting rain of the gospel

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, June 13, 2018

8 “Whenever you enter a town and they welcome you, eat what is set before you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near you.’

To the people of the towns, Jesus already said that the worker is worthy of his wages. Now he tells the workers, be content with what they give you. A family that can afford bread and broth should be thanked for sharing their bread and their broth.

To these towns, towns that welcomed the gospel and listened to the preaching of the gospel, healing would come. Jesus commanded his disciples to heal whatever sicknesses they encountered: those who had leprosy, the mute, the deaf, the lame, the demon-possessed, and anything else. These physical healings were only an outward sign of the inward change in people’s hearts. The working of the forgiveness of sins and the planting and strengthening of faith is what Jesus meant when he said, “The kingdom of God has come near you.”

10 “But when you enter a town and you are not welcomed, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust from your town that is on our feet, we wipe off against you. Yet know this: The kingdom of God has come near.’

If the disciples were rejected by a town (and doubtless many were), their instructions were to make a deliberate, definite statement about this fact. They were to say the words of verse 11, and they were to wipe the dust from their feet. This was not just kicking off the dust like a baseball player knocking the dirt from his cleats with his bat. This was carefully to make a point of wiping every speck of dirt from their feet and sandals, to say by their actions: not even a speck of dust from his place is to remain with us, and not a speck of God’s grace and blessing will remain there, either. This warning would end with the terrible words: “The kingdom of God has come near.” The kingdom came and went. Luther described the gospel as it moves from place to place in this way:

“The Gospel is like a pelting rain that hurries on from place to place. When it hits it hits; what it misses it misses. But it does not return nor stay in one place. The sun and heat come after it and lick it up. Experience also teaches us that in no section of the world has the gospel remained pure and unadulterated beyond the memory of a man. On the contrary, it stood its ground and flourished as long as those remained who had brought it to the fore. But after they had passed from the scene, the light also disappeared. Factious spirits and false teachers immediately followed” (St. Louis Edition, XXII,437).

Just this morning (June 13, 2018), WELS President Mark Schroeder announced to the Minnesota District that a group of Christians has recently contacted the Wisconsin Synod for help. Sixty years ago, all of the Christian pastors in this country were executed by the communist government, but the churches remained; the Christians remained Christians. They contacted our church body for help with training new leader and pastors, and this was permitted by the national government. Now, 100,000 Christians in that country—North Viet Nam—are served with the gospel of Jesus Christ. How long with the “pelting rain” hurry through North Viet Nam? How long will it last? May God bless this work of the gospel across the ocean, and the work of the gospel across the street in your community, too.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.