In Matthew 10:13, Jesus is sending out his disciples to preach the good news, telling them, "If the household is worthy, let your peace come on it, but if it isn't worthy, let your peace return to you." (Matthew 10:13 WEB)
This entire phrase is an idiom in Hebrew, in which the meaning of the words is not the same as the literal meaning. Idioms are culture specific, varying depending on the language and even location. Any phrase that has an understood meaning that differs from the literal meaning is an idiom.
Examples of Idioms include:
Let the cat out of the bag. (USA) Meaning: Tell the secret.
Spill the beans. (USA) Meaning: Tell the secret.
Across the pond. (UK) Meaning: The other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
All that, and a bag of chips. (USA) Meaning: Person thinks they are special.
Last Coca-Cola in the desert. (Mexico) Meaning: Person thinks they are special.
May I lay my life down for you. (Tribe) Meaning: Hello.
Giving Peace. (Hebrew) Meaning: Friendly Greeting
Idioms are one of the reasons why so many English translations of the Bible exist. A word-for-word translation can sometimes be confusing, which is why there are many translations that slightly paraphrase in order to effectively communicate the meaning.
To someone foreign to any given language, idioms will sound weird or unfamiliar when they are translated word-for-word. The meaning is lost in translation because the meaning was derived from a cultural understanding, rather than the literal words.
Likewise, this phrase spoken by Jesus would have been a familiar phrase meaning essentially, "Greet them, and if they are unwelcoming then leave without regret."
And in fact, while Jesus did not say this directly to Paul, he and Barnabus have a similar response when they experienced hostility in a city in Acts 13. In response, they left without regret in order to go to another city that would be more welcoming. "But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came to Iconium." (Acts 13:51 WEB)
Jesus is essentially telling his disciples to not waste time on those who are unwelcoming and who are not ready to receive the good news.
The concept of letting your peace return to you makes sense if we consider the example of a physical gift. The Apostles were to give their blessing to those who received them, and if the host refused the blessing then it would naturally remain with them, just as if they had tried to give an item that remained in their hand, having not been taken.
"He who says he remains in him ought himself also to walk just like he walked." (1 John 2:6 WEB)
If you have stage 4 pancreatic cancer, then with current medical technology you have likely not been given any hope for getting better. Your cancer is terminal. In fact, with many diseases...
Probability of the Universe Existing in Coin Flips: Flipping a coin has a 50/50 chance of heads vs tails. How many times do you think you could flip heads in a row with a 50/50 chance?
Wildfires in Tennessee have temporarily displaced thousands of people fleeing from the destruction. Over 100 homes have been destroyed, as well as hotels and businesses. Thus far, seven people...
Obeying God's will is actually more simple than it seems. The truth is that some actions are good (holy), some actions are bad (sinful), and the majority of actions are completely neutral...
Having God answer your prayers can result in overwhelming feelings of joy, relief, and thankfulness. However, sometimes doubt of God's intervention can appear and begin to steal your confidence...
For unbelievers, there are only a few ways to prove that God exists, depending on how willing they are to accept God's existence. For unbelievers who are...
Sanctification is a widely accepted belief that bridges the gap between the biblical mandate for obedience to God and the practical application of living a Christian life as...
"Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." One of the problems with modern Christianity is the mainstream concept that "It is impossible to be perfect."
When someone owes us money or has taken something away from us, often courts of law are necessary to recover what was lost. However, is it okay for Christians to sue others?
The favor of God is a good thing to have, but the biblical definition of God's favor is very different from the definition used in the prosperity gospel...