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In Matthew 10, Jesus is instructing his disciples, whom he is sending out to preach to the children of Israel as follows:

11 Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. 12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you

What does it mean to "let your peace rest on it", and even more curiously, how would one let his peace return to him?

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I'd posit He's talking about the divine life, so to speak. In true charity, one doesn't give in order to gain. One is already satisfied (at peace). And it is precisely because one is satisfied (at peace) that they will all others to share in "their" peace. The command to "let your peace return to you" I understand as a caution to not let failures, rejection, etc. destroy one's own peace. –  svidgen Mar 29 '13 at 15:55
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3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

A similar passage in Luke:

Luke 10:5-6
5 Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ 6 If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.

See also Mark 6:8 . Here is the whole passage:

Matthew 10:12
12 As you enter a house, wish it peace. 13 If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace return to you.* 14 Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words—go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet.

The note says: "The greeting of peace is conceived of not merely as a salutation but as an effective word. If it finds no worthy recipient, it will return to the speaker." Consider what happened after St Paul and St Barnabas were driven out of a city, and shook the dusk from their feet:

Acts 13:51
51 So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. 52 The disciples were filled with joy and the holy Spirit.

See also:

Luke 2:14
14 “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Peace is effectively a blessing, the favor of the Lord. If the blessing finds no worthy recipient, it will fall back on those who gave it. Those who St Paul and St Barnabas gave peace to would not have that peace, so the peace of the Lord fell back on the two men, and they were "filled with joy and the holy Spirit".

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I believe Yeshu'a is referring to the common salutation among Jews, שלום עליך (shalom aleikha) if greeting a singular male, or שלום עליכם (shalom aleikhem) if greeting a group of people (with at least one male). It means, "Peace be upon you" (cp. 3 John 1:14).

Hence, we find the Greek verb ἀσπάζομαι (aspazomai), meaning "to greet someone."

So, Yeshu'a is simply saying that the peace (שלום) will indeed come to that person/ home if they are deserving of it (in their treatment of the apostles), or it will not (it will return to the apostles whom spoke it).

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“And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. And when ye come into an house, salute it. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.” Matthew 10:11-13, KJV.

The question is what should we ( as disciples) be doing in order to follow this commandment of Jesus? St. Augustine gave a sermon on this, and when I get back to my computer, I will add some comment.

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