20 Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

Matt 11:20-24 (NIV)

Certainly not sounding too good for Korazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum is it? Something tells me this should be a heads for us as well. Evidence after evidence of the miraculous was provided for these towns yet they staunchly remained unrepentant – unwilling to turn to the only One able to save. Some of Christ’s most significant miracles had occurred in these cities yet for the most part their residents remained unchanged. Not a good thing to be sure - particularly in light of our Lord’s comparison of them to the cities of Tyre, Sidon and Sodom. These ancient cities had a long-standing reputation for wickedness and each was destroyed by God for its evil. Yet, Jesus states, that even these wicked Gentile cities would in the end fare better as they no doubt would have repented if the same miracles had been done in them that had been performed in the cities He is now denouncing.

The cities of Korazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum had been privy to see much of the workings of the Master firsthand. They were eyewitness of His majesty. They were given much and therefore much was expected of them. Therefore, Jesus states that because they remained in unbelief, they would suffer even greater than the wicked cities that had not experienced the same privileges. Jesus tells us in Luke:

47 "That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:47-48 (NIV)

“Willful unrepentance is the great damning sin of multitudes that enjoy the gospel.” Matthew Henry

Sounds eerily like our country does it not? We are inundated with every resource to know and grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. We not only have a Bible, we have many and in all sorts of versions. We are loaded down with books and commentaries, CD’s, Christian music, expository teaching in churches, Bible studies etc. It is certainly not for lack of materials that one in this country is not deep in their faith; it is for lack of desire. We would be hard pressed to think of any other resource we need but our will which we seem to staunchly hold on to. I am reminded of our Lord’s Word to the lukewarm church of Laodicea in Revelation as they could serve as a warning to us as well:

14 "To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. Rev 3:14-20 (NIV)

Sadly, the cities of Korazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum today remain in ruins because they did not receive the Light sent to them. They refused to embrace the time of God’s favor choosing rather to reject the Messiah. The Baptist, Jesus and His apostles all came preaching repentance – a change of mind which ultimately changes behavior – but they refused to leave their sins and turn to God.

“What do I need more than His love and what do I want more than His will and when I am my own master, don’t I have a fool for a master?” Ann Voskamp

“Sin is the sickness of the soul. It is deforming, weakening, disturbing, wasting, and killing, but, we bless God, not incurable. Jesus Christ is the great Physician of souls. Wise and good people should be like physicians to everyone around them; Christ was so. Souls that are sick with sin need this Physician, for their disease is dangerous; nature will not help itself. No mortal can help us; we have such need of Christ that we are eternally ruined without Him.” Matthew Henry

What I Glean

  • From the one who has been entrusted with much, much more is demanded.
  • Willful unrepentance is the great damning sin of all who have been privy to the gospel of Christ.
  • We all need Jesus as we are eternally ruined without Him.