Luke 10:13-16 – “Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths.
“He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
The good news of God’s kingdom with its grand offer of peace, healing and righteousness was delivered by these ambassadors of Christ. Their hearers were provided an opportunity to become citizens of GOD’S KINGDOM, with all its benefits, privileges and responsibilities. What grander offer could be made? If anyone failed to obtain the benefit, it was their own fault! When the gospel is brought to your house and you shut your door against it, your blood is upon your own head! God’s very own ambassadors delivered this good news to Korazin and Bethsaida. Their rejection of this offer of grace was sinful and inexcusable and their condemnation is sure! Each one who slights God’s offer of grace will have to answer for it. The more clear and righteous the message, the more we have to answer for on the Judgment Day! If we refuse the holy offer of Christ, “it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that city.” Jesus makes it very clear that rejecting the gospel is a more heinous crime than was committed by the Sodomites when they rejected the warning given them by Lot.
Korazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum all bordered the sea of Galilee, and this is where Jesus performed His most convincing miracles and taught most plainly about the kingdom of God. These cities had been given the special privilege of experiencing His grace and truth like no other cities. They had not only been dignified and honored with the richest blessings, but they had been brought as near to the door of God’s kingdom as any people could be. God’s purpose in favoring these cities was to bring them to repentance and transformation – to clearly recognize the error of their sins, to repent in sackcloth and ashes, and to humbly and sincerely embrace the truth and righteousness of God’s kingdom. Sadly, they received the grace of God in vain and did not repent. They did not produce fruit that would have coincided with the advantages they had been blessed with. They gladly received the benefits of all His miracles, but did not respond with appropriate honor and faith. But, If Christ had gone to Tyre and Sidon (Gentile cities), and had preached the same messages and performed the same miracles that He did in these cities of Israel, they would have repented long ago. Their sorrow for wrongdoing and grieving God would have been swift and their repentance in sackcloth and ashes would have shown their sincerity.
Why does it seem that those who are given the greatest advantages don’t appreciate them, but those who would have appreciated them are not granted that privilege? The answer is not provided here and this is perhaps a question to be reserved for eternity. What IS given though is that those who receive the grace of God in vain are destined to a very fearful doom in the depths of hell. Those who had been highly privileged and exalted by heaven’s wonders and grace will be thrust down in disgrace and dishonor. In the day of judgment, things will go better for Tyre and Sidon than for these privileged cities. To whom much is given, much will be required! Tyre and Sidon would have repented – would you?
In conclusion, Jesus established this rule for judgment: What is done to His ambassadors is done to Him! If His ambassadors are listened to, He has been listened to! If His ambassadors are rejected, then He has been rejected! And, when HE has been rejected, the One who sent HIM has been rejected! Even though they may not hate and persecute them, those who reject Christianity and despise the faithful ministers of Christ have rejected Him! Those who look scornfully on Christ’s ambassadors and turn their backs on their ministry will be judged as those who have despised Christ and the Father who sent Him.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You. – Psalm 51:1-13