Thursday, September 4, 2008

Matthew 11:20-24 "Warning: Remain Unstoppable"

Read Matthew 11:20-24.

"But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you." NIV
This is a little discussed passage that I believe has an important message for us today. Jesus is actually cursing these towns for their unbelief. Why them?

Bethsaida, Korzin and Capernaum make up the "orthodox triangle," a concentrated area of devout Jews. It was in this region that Jesus spent a great deal of time during His ministry and performed many miracles.

Korazin housed a Jewish temple and a piece called "Moses' seat." Jesus refers to this in Matthew 23:1-3 when He is condemning the religious leaders for their hypocrisy. Near Korazin is where it's believed that Jesus gave His Sermon on the Mount.

Bethsaida was the seat of the monarchy and had a cult temple to Julia. Miracles in and near Bethsaida were the feeding of the 5000 and the healing of a blind man.

Capernaum was Jesus' hometown during his ministry years. It was also the home of several of the disciples, including Peter's large home where scholars believe the miracle of the healing of the paralytic lowered through the roof occurred. Jesus also healed the demoniac, the centurion's servant, and gave the sermon on the bread of life in the synagogue.

Although Jesus did travel outside of this region, these three cities form the heart of his ministry. And yet they are the ones that He rebukes as unbelieving.

I can't help but make comparisons between these three cities and the United States. We are a powerful nation (Bethsaida) and although we consider ourselves a Christian nation (Capernaum), hypocrisy reigns in many forms and religions. (Korazin) We have been blessed for over 200 years with a freedom, unlike many other nations, to proclaim the name of Jesus Christ. His values have dominated our government and society as a whole. But I fear this era is coming to a close. The window is narrowing year by year as we entertain other ideologies and practices. We can no longer rest in the comfort of a Christian belief system, but must fight for our religious rights. Political correctness and tolerance are afforded everyone but the Christians. Will we go down as a nation to the depths (vs 23)? Jesus has just commanded his twelve disciples to go out with courage knowing they will face opposition (Ch. 10). We as believers in the USA in the 21st century must continue to display that same courage. We must be cloaked in the armor of the Lord and fight with courage and resolve. Our numbers are few and we have lost several battles, but the war is not over yet. And we have Christ as our supreme commander -- we know the outcome. But getting through the opposition, pressing forward against compromise, tenaciously resisting the temptation of defeat, we move on.

Our nation as a whole is in trouble, but we mighty few can make a difference for some. We can begin with our own families, then to our neighbors, our city, .... The Great Commission is not squelched because of the depravity of the whole. The holiness and courage of the few will march on in the power of Jesus Christ.

Further Thoughts:
  1. There are multiple times that God's people have been outnumbered but prevailed. Read about Moses and the Hebrew children against the Egyptians, Joshua and the battle of Jericho, Gideon and his army of 300. Never underestimate a Mighty God empowering a devout few -- they are unstoppable.
  2. Do further research about these 3 cities. Do you see the same comparisons to the USA that I see?
  3. We see miracles happening around us all the time, but we simply do not take note. Keep a journal of the miracles you experience in your life and the lives of those around you. When feeling overwhelmed or in doubt, these accounts are what you come back to for strength from God's faithfulness. He has not stopped working in and through our lives. Don't stop being faithful to Him.

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