Indifference Toward the King
“Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.” Matthew 11:20-24 (KJV)
It has been said, “God owes everyone a chance to repent and be saved”, or “God will eventually give everyone a chance to hear the gospel and be saved”. Not according to what I read in Scriptures. He does not owe anyone an iota of grace or mercy. He owes us nothing. To say it one more time in another way, God is indebted to no one. Period.
In His mercy He has given natural revelation of Himself. The creation declares the glory of God, and every one is held accountable for what they do with what they have been given.
In these verses we see indifference toward the King who has given life. Jesus had done wondrous works in these cities – Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, and they rejected Him. There was indeed a contrast of Light. How much light did Tyre and Sidon have? As far as we know they were given little, if any light or revelation of God, except creation itself. They were destroyed. Sodom was a city which had the capacity for light through Lot. Lot seems to have gotten too involved in the “culture”. There is plenty of evidence that Lot had become so much like the pluralistic paganism around him he was seen as a man with no convictions toward God, righteousness, or holiness. Lot’s light was a weak light. These cities would have repented; according to Jesus; if they would have received light. In this we can see that God is not obligated to reveal Himself to anyone. Also, that judgment is imminent for all, even if they have received no other light.
Jesus may have ministered in the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida after He had sent out the twelve, and He ministered alone (v. 1). Keep in mind that the works Jesus did are a testimony of who He is,
“If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.” John 10:37-38 (KJV)
“Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.” John 14:10-11 (KJV)
Indifference to Jesus, rejecting Jesus; especially after seeing His mighty deeds, and especially His death and resurrection will be judgment in the eternal judgment of God. The judgment will be in accordance to the light which has shined. The judgment which will be harshest will be upon those who have heard the message of Jesus and continued to ignore it, refuse it, or just remain indifferent to it. The cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida had the very Light walking in their midst, and Capernaum housed the Light, and yet, they were indifferent. It seems by Jesus’s teaching here there will be degrees of torment in the place of eternal judgment.
Since Tyre, Sidon, Chorazin, Sodom, Bethsaida, and Capernaum is mentioned in this text let’s look at the leaven of their existence. The evil of Tyre and Sidon was that it was one of the vilest in pagan religious practice, their licentious behavior, and Baal worship. The pagan worship involved sexually explicit dances, and ritual lude behaviors. We are well acquainted with Sodom’s behavior (Genesis 18:16-21; Ezekiel 16:48-50). The very name “Sodom” has been used to describe deviant behavior of the day – “Sodomy”. The city was so perverse in their behavior that when struck with blindness they persisted in doing evil (Genesis 19:4-11). The city was destroyed from off the face of the earth. Chorazin’s, Bethsaida’s and Capernaum’s evil? Jesus walked in their midst, did many “mighty works” and they did nothing. The mighty works of chapters eight and nine were done in Capernaum. The greatest evil of all is having the Light of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and rejecting it, not walking in it. The evils of lewd behavior can be repented of, and turned from, but there is no repentance of continual rejection, indifference to Jesus Christ.
The hottest spot in Hell is reserved for the one who remains in rejection and indifference to Jesus; having had the greatest amount of light. You may believe, “It doesn’t matter what you believe, if you believe in something”, or “That is okay for you, but it’s not for me”, or “Jesus may have been a good man, but He can’t help me”. Indifference, indifference, indifference. Your punishment on the day of judgment will be according to opportunity. The judgment will still be Hell.
Why live in indifference and rejection? The way of salvation is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, His death, burial and resurrection. There is a judgment day coming.
-by Tim A. Blankenship