Matthew 10:14 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 10:14, NIV: If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.

Matthew 10:14, ESV: And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town.

Matthew 10:14, KJV: And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

Matthew 10:14, NASB: And whoever does not receive you nor listen to your words, as you leave that house or city, shake the dust off your feet.

Matthew 10:14, NLT: If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave.

Matthew 10:14, CSB: If anyone does not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that house or town.

What does Matthew 10:14 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jesus told the apostles to decide if a person or their home was worthy, as they traveled in pairs (Matthew 10:7–13). This verse clarifies how the disciples were meant to make that decision. Jesus wasn't talking about religious stature or sinlessness or being well-regarded by their neighbors. Those who were worthy of hosting Jesus' representatives were the ones who received them and listened to their words. The worthy ones would hear and, most likely, believe.

If they will not listen and will not receive the apostles, Jesus says they are not worthy of the apostles' time, attention, and continued effort. Jesus tells them here to shake the dust off their feet when leaving that unworthy house. If nobody in the town will hear them, they must shake the dust off their feet on the way out of town. This gesture is connected to Jewish culture and carries heavy symbolism.

The Jewish people would shake the dust off their feet when leaving a Gentile place. They showed in doing this that they were carrying no part of that Gentile world with them, including the dust that might cling to their sandals. They saw it as symbolic of obeying God's command to remain separate from their Gentile neighbors. Jesus claims this symbol for His disciples now, though, as a sign of God's coming judgment on those left behind in such a way.

In a modern application, this verse reminds believers not to "carry" anything from those who reject the message of Christ. Earlier, Jesus commanded His followers not to waste time or effort on those who were clearly hostile (Matthew 7:6). Here, His words serve as a reminder that believers should be willing to let go, and move on, when their message is not accepted.