‘Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But at the judgement it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades. ‘Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.’
We find Jesus issuing judgement on the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida.. This is nothing new, and we are all guilty of proclaiming and believing assumed reputations of so-called places of ill repute. On one occasion Phillip even damned Jesus’ hometown (Jn 1.46). But is this what Jesus is actually doing?
We find Jesus comparing the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida to Sodom and Gomorrah. These two Old Testament cities have become bywords for places condemned by the judgement of God. These cities’ fate would serve future generations of the consequences of sin (Deuteronomy 29.22-23). And Jesus’ condemnation of Chorazin and Bethsaida seemingly places these cities beyond Sodom and Gomorrah in a league of their own.
But Chorazin and Bethsaida were not facing a threat of heavenly fire and brimstone, but Roman fire and fury. These cities were known hotbeds of political rebellion; the Roman solution was not diplomatic dialogue but military suppression. If these cities had repented and followed Jesus, later violence may have been avoided.
Likewise, very real consequences follow the choices we make in our own lives – be these personal or corporate. Walking in the footsteps of the Prince of Peace comes with genuine benefits. If our lives are a statement of rebellion against the Kingdom of God, some form of dark payback may will manifest itself.
So may we choose to follow in the footsteps of the Prince of Peace May we know the blessings of living a life as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven May we be mindful of the consequences of living life without reference to God And promoting this alternative way of life to the people, powers and principalities around us. Amen.