December 15 I Saturday
“Woe to you, Chorazin [and] Bethsaida! For 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.” —Matthew 11:21
In the region of Galilee, Jesus’s ministry and miracles were largely met with a lack of repentance. He denounced the towns of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum, saying that Tyre, Sidon and Sodom, three of the most sin-filled cities of the Old Testament, would have repented and believed had the same miracles been performed there. As a result, Jesus said it will be more bearable for Tyre, Sidon and Sodom on the Day of Judgment because Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum had direct experience of God through Christ. How it will be more bearable for Tyre, Sidon and Sodom, Jesus does not explain, but its being so is not in doubt.
Experience brings responsibility. The more we know, the more responsible we become, which has led some to argue that ignorance of Christ is bliss. They claim it is better not to take the Gospel to those who have never heard it before because doing so would give them an opportunity to reject Christ they would not otherwise have had. But this is in conflict with Jesus’s instruction to take the Gospel to all the world, so we cannot argue that point effectively. What is true is that “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 12:48). The context of this statement is knowledge of a master’s will. The greater our exposure to God and knowledge of His will, the greater our obligation of response and obedience.
There is a resistance to God that is not intellectual but volitional. It is one thing to say, “I cannot believe;” it is another to say, “I will not believe.” Doubting Thomas was not filled with intellectual confusion when told of the resurrection of Jesus but volitional resistance: “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe” (John 20:25). Intellectual resistance to the Gospel can be investigated and discussed, but volitional resistance does not give the Gospel a chance.
Like the people of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum, are we failing to acknowledge that Christ is Lord? Is there some aspect to the will of God we find ourselves resisting? We only have two options when God reveals Himself. We can plant our feet and resist, which leads to a hardened heart and a frustration that God seems distant, or we can believe and obey, which leads to the joys of an increasing understanding of Him and His good purposes.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I know that experience of You brings with it responsibility, and forgive me if I have taken this for granted. I choose today to believe and obey Your will. Thank You, God.