And when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, "Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you." Luke 10:10,11
Jesus was a rabbi, trained in the educational system of His day. It was customary for a rabbi to select a group of disciples to be trained to follow and imitate him. His shoes were fitted with a flap which kicked up dust when he walked. His disciples would walk in a line behind him and the one closest to him would be covered in the dust kicked up by the flaps on His shoes.
It was such an honour to be covered with the dust of one's rabbi that one would not wash it off but rather show it off. This dust symbolised the blessing of the rabbi's influence and it was used as a verbal blessing spoken over people, "May you be covered in the dust of your rabbi."
By contrast, Jesus instructed His disciples to wipe off the dust of a town that would not receive them. He did not want them to be influenced by the attitude of hardness expressed by that town's rejection of them. They were His representatives. What they said and did was what He said and did because He identified with them completely in their ministry. Therefore, if the people of a town rejected His disciples, they rejected Him and His Father.
There is a lesson for us in this teaching of Jesus. If we are disciples of Jesus, we are to wear His yoke, His way of interpreting the Scriptures and His way of living the Word of God. We will live under His influence, covered with His dust, if we walk close behind Him. But if we allow the influences of ungodly people, their dust, to cover us, we will, in turn, shake off that dust on other people as we go through life.
Jesus said that we are to shake off the dust of unbelieving people because it will affect the way we wear His yoke and carry His dust in the world. We need to ask ourselves daily, "Whose dust am I covered in today? Do I walk close enough to my rabbi to be covered in His dust, or am I carrying the dust of the ungodly world because I have not shaken it off?"