Jesus denounced the cities where most of his miracles were done. He said that it would be worse for them on the Day of Judgment than for notoriously wicked cities like Sodom.
Why is Jesus being so judgmental? Why is he condemning large groups of people? Not because they persecuted Jesus. They didn’t (that would come later). Not because they opposed Jesus or rebuked him. In fact, they were indifferent.
Jesus is denouncing these cities because they did not repent. Repentance is a change from disobeying God to serving God. It is turning away from a life of sin and turning to a life of obeying God. They declined.
Jesus gave sight to the blind, made the lame walk, cleansed lepers, gave hearing to the deaf, raised the dead and preached the good news to the poor. The crowds were amazed at his miracles. But Jesus did not perform miracles in order to amaze or entertain or even to satisfy their curiosity.
Jesus’ miracles were meant to convince people that they should take his message seriously. They should turn from sin and turn to him for forgiveness. Cities full of people in Galilee saw his power and went home unfazed. So Jesus pronounces them doomed.
This is a sobering text (Matthew 11:20-24). It shows a side of Jesus that many wish to ignore or deny. True, Jesus is a friend of sinners. But he is their friend because he tells them the truth about heaven and hell. Instead of approving of their sin, he offers salvation from sin.
The cities in Galilee were given a great gift. They were eyewitness to the healing power of God. They heard the powerful preaching and teaching of Jesus with their own ears. But they failed to act.
The Bible tells us that when God gives more, he expects more. This was solemn news for the towns in Galilee. It is also solemn news for United States of America.
What other country in modern times has been more blessed by God? We have enjoyed religious freedom from shore to shore, Christian churches in every town, and Bibles on every shelf.
What will happen to a country that has been so privileged and yet turns its back on God?
Like Jesus in Galilee, Christians in the U.S.A. often meet with indifference when sharing the message of God’s kingdom. Meanwhile, the spiritual decline in our land is discouraging. It would be easy to give up our efforts to reach a culture that seems so determined to self-destruct.
But we must take our cue from Jesus. After denouncing the cities that ignored his message he did two things. First, he praised God. Jesus thanked the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth, for his work in the world and his work in his own life.
No matter how difficult things may get, we must never stop worshiping the Lord, our Maker and Savior. He is our source of strength and inspiration.
The second thing that Jesus did was to continue extending an invitation to those who might hear and respond. “Come to me all who are weary and burdened,” he said, “and I will give you rest.”
Like Jesus, we must be faithful in offering the good news about God’s amazing grace. God’s word promises us that if we do not give up, at the proper time we will reap a harvest!
Let us faithfully speak the truth in love,
Brother Richard Foster