These curious words were spoken by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. But what was He saying?
“What is holy” and “Pearls” are referring to the priceless value of the gospel and the things of God.
Just as a pig would not recognize the value of a string of pearls, and would trample them into the slop of the pig pen without any recognition or consideration of their worth, there are those we will encounter who do not appreciate the value of the words we speak about God. In fact, they are hostile to them. Jesus is saying for us not to give what is valuable to those who would reject, mock it, or won’t believe it.
But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief. (Matthew 13:57-58, NASB)
Even Jesus didn’t do many miracles in his hometown because of the people’s refusal to believe in who He was. So he moved on to where the people would believe.
This isn’t to say that everyone isn’t deserving to hear the gospel. They are. But we aren’t to keep beating people over the head with the gospel who are not welcoming of it.
We ARE responsible to share the good news. We AREN’T responsible for people’s reception of it. Just as pigs don’t appreciate the value of pearls, there will be those who will never appreciate the good news of Jesus Christ. When they don’t, we are free to move on to where it WILL be received. If they have HEARD the gospel, that is all we are responsible for. Not continuing to cram it down the throats of those who don’t want to hear it.
Jesus told His disciples:,
“If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town” (Matthew 10:14)
In other words, move on. Don’t look back.
John MacArthur says:
“It was common for Jews to shake the dust off their feet—as an expression of disdain—when returning from Gentile regions. Paul and Barnabas also did this when expelled from Antioch (Acts 13:51). This was a visible protest, signifying that they regarded the place as no better than a pagan land.”
So don’t fret the unbelief of those who reject the good news we bring. Continue to pray for them.
But if even Jesus moved on, we can feel peace in doing the same.