12TH JULY 2022
Jesus’ word of warning to the cities of His time, and by the way, also to us today is found in Matthew 11, verses 20-30. Here, He pronounces woe upon those who had the great privilege of hearing the Gospel, and seeing the miracles that were done, but did not repent of their sins, and believe in Him.
He had not spoken unkindly to these people, previous to this. At the outset, they received Him cheerfully, and He had made Capernaum His home. Since then, they had begun to ridicule both John and Himself.
He did more miracles in these cities, as well as his greatest miracles. For instance, In Capernaum alone, He healed the centurion’s servant, recovered Peter’s Wife’s mother from a fever, restored to health the man sick of the palsy, raised Jarius’ daughter from the dead, made well the woman who had a bloody issue, opened the eyes of two blind men, and expelled an evil spirit from a man possessed by one. He did all of these things, and more, in this one city, so He was just in admonishing them. What more did they expect the Messiah to do? The answer, not surprisingly, is that they expected Him to conform to their opinions, which arose from their own desires, not from the promises in God’s word. They sought after a deliverer, which would liberate them from the oppression of Rome and make their nation once again great; not one that had come humbly to save their souls.
He came to save men, but men are not truly saved, unless they are, in fact, sorry for their sin. Jesus taught that faith and repentance are two sides of the coin, we call salvation. Both will take place in the heart of a believer, but they may not happen at the same time, or in a specific order. That is because, faith in Jesus Christ leads us to see our great wickedness, and the man who understands he is a sinner is ripe to receive the Gospel.
The people who heard the Gospel here very likely responded with indifference. Jesus upbraids them for doing nothing! Repentance demands change - a change of heart and way of life. God's word is life-giving and it saves us from destruction - the destruction of heart, mind, and soul as well as body. Jesus' anger is directed toward sin and everything which hinders us from doing the will of God. In love he calls us to walk in his way of truth and freedom, grace and mercy, justice and holiness. Do you receive his word with faith and obedience or with doubt and indifference?