Reflective Bible Study.
Focus Passage: Matthew 11:20-30 (NIrV)When reading the gospels, we may mistakenly begin to think that everyone except the religious leaders was a fan of Jesus. After all, Jesus fed crowds larger than 5,000 people on more than one occasion. Everywhere Jesus went, lives were transformed and hearts were pointed towards God. I imagine that there were several places that had no sickness or disease in it when Jesus and His disciples were ready to move to the next town. Jesus’ ministry was definitely life-transforming. But even with all the fame and reputation, Matthew draws our attention to a series of statements Jesus makes that cut through this mask of popularity. Matthew describes Jesus speaking out against the towns and cities where He had done most of His miracles because, “the people there had not turned away from their sins.” (v. 20b) Jesus denounces them by saying, “How terrible it will be for you, Chorazin! How terrible for you, Bethsaida! Suppose the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon. They would have turned away from their sins long ago. They would have put on clothes for mourning. They would have sat down in ashes. But I tell you this. On judgment day it will be easier for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And what about you, Capernaum? Will you be lifted to the heavens? No! You will go down to the place of the dead. Suppose the miracles done in you had been done in Sodom. It would still be here today. But I tell you this. On judgment day it will be easier for Sodom than for you.” (v. 21-24) In His statement, Jesus draws our attention onto some of the worst, most secular and most evil cities in the Old Testament world. The ultimate example is that of Sodom, which was so bad that God even came down from Heaven to witness it personally—before ultimately destroying it. Jesus states that if He had come earlier in history and to these cities like He had come to them, they would have changed their ways. While what I am about to write may sound odd, reading these verses from Matthew about how some of the main cities in the first century simply ignored Jesus makes me less surprised that there are people living today who simply ignore Jesus. This idea also lessens the pressure in my mind to help others understand my point of view, because, if Jesus was walking around and He couldn’t convince people to change their ways, who am I to think that I could be successful. This challenge Jesus shares is also a warning for everyone living today. It is a warning for those who are living without God to think about this choice. If they choose to believe God doesn’t exist and they are wrong, then there will be a time when they will be called to account for their choice. But this is a challenge for those of us who believe in God and who have placed our faith in Jesus. This warning challenges us to share our experience and what we believe with others. We have been called to love others, to show grace, and to share our faith and after we have finished this, we leave the outcome up to God. When we do this, we give the Holy Spirit room to work. Some hearts will be softened, other hearts will be hardened. What happens in someone else’s heart when we show God’s love is not our concern. What matters is that we are showing God’s love and being representatives of Jesus to the world around us. This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus “Reflective Bible Study” package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today! Read this article on the web on it's official page: Denounced By Jesus: Matthew 11:20-30