I assure you, even wicked Sodom will be better off than such a town on judgment day. “What sorrow awaits you, Korazin and Bethsaida! For if the miracles I did in you had been done in wicked Tyre and Sidon, their people would have repented of their sins long ago, clothing themselves in burlap and throwing ashes on their heads to show their remorse. Yes, Tyre and Sidon will be better off on judgment day than you. And you people of Capernaum, will you be honored in heaven? No, you will go down to the place of the dead. ”
Then He said to the disciples, “Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting Me. And anyone who rejects you is rejecting Me. And anyone who rejects Me is rejecting God, who sent Me.”Luke 10:12-16
What a fascinating passage. Our challenge is to work out how it connects to what has gone before or decide if this segment begins a new topic or sense unit. We need to pay attention first to the building blocks, the details.
The NLT translation has already done some preliminary work for you in turning “that day” into “judgement day”. Literally in the Greek text “that day” is mentioned which of course refers to Judgment Day.
Take particular note of the towns mentioned, there is a reason for the inclusion of each one. All of these towns are tagged to the idea of the rejection of God’s message. It connects strongly to what has gone before and the comments relating to the rejection or lack of welcome of the representatives of Jesus and the disciples in Samaritan towns. These passages strongly continue the thrust of the passage preceding this.
Sodom: (linked of course with Gomorah) is the epitomé of a town which symbolizes the rejection of God and His resultant judgement. These two Old Testament towns are examples of God’s judgement falling on people who reject God’s call to repent and refuse to obey. There is clearly a major message being sent here in choosing these examples. Sodom is synonymous with shame and judgement even up until the present day. It has come to symbolize the judgement of God.
Korazin: is not mentioned anywhere else in Scripture in any other place than this section here. There is no reference to this place anywhere else in the Bible except for a parallel reading in Matthew 11:21). But Matthew doesn’t use this section in this place. He links it to John Baptist and his message of repentance. It is Luke who removes this section and places it here with the reference to the towns which follow and in juxtaposition to the close of the ministry in and around Capernaum and the Galilean campaign. It has been identified with Kerazeh, which is located just 3 kms north-east of Capernaum. It is also indicative of the fact that not everything Jesus did nor every place He went was recorded in Scripture.
Bethsaida: is located 8 km to the east of Capernaum. It is the town closest to the location of the feeding of the 5000. I have mentioned its name in connection with the meaning of its name and the feeding of the 5000. Clearly something happened here in the context of the rejection of Christ and His message. Something not recorded for us in the Biblical text.
Tyre and Sidon: are two Gentile cities on the Phoenician coast of the Mediterranean. Tyre is 48 kms from Capernaum and Sidon is about 80 kms from Capernaum. These two cites are the New Testament equivalent of Sodom and Gomorah. Tyre was obliterated because of the sin and waywardness found there. Jesus is recorded as having gone to this area once when He healed the daughter of the Canaanite woman (Mark 7:24-30 and Matt 15:21-28). These two towns are not being used as examples of what Jesus did there but rather the judgement of God obliterating a town or city.
Capernaum: is the town where Jesus spent most of the time doing miracles in Capernaum and then using Capernaum as a base while He ministered to the surrounding region. Jesus performed more miracles and works of God in this town than any others. Yet ministry there was marked by doubt and disbelief and requests for more miracles. Not only that but He constantly encountered opposition from the Pharisees and the teachers of the law in and around Capernaum. Note the use of emphatic “and you people of Capernaum”. It could be translated “and as for you Capernaum.” – You are the worst of all of them. This example is placed last as the capstone for unbelief and opposition when it should be otherwise. The segment “will you be honored in heaven?” is introduced by the Greek particle which requires the answer no. No way, you are destined for Hades. Clearly the inhabitants of Capernaum had an inflated idea of themselves to cause Jesus to say you think you will be exalted; no you will go down. Some have suggested that the city was on a high plateau which then brought forth this comment from Jesus. What is interesting is that after Jesus time it is like Capernaum disappears off the map. Now there is debate as to which ruins are actually Capernaum. Interesting isn’t it? Especially when you take into the account the references made to Capernaum in various extra biblical literature inferring Capernaum was “the field of repentance” or “the city of comfort”. In fact it became the epitomé of the lack of repentance. How sad.
This whole section is placed here to highlight the rejection of the Jesus and the message of the disciples. Even though the latest examples of rejection were in Samaritan villages, note the condemnation is directed toward cites and towns in Galilee. One could imagine the thoughts of the disciples. Remember Gem 933 when the disciples wanted to call down fire from heaven on the Samaritans because of their rejection of the Lord. Here they are in the midst of Samaria and facing rejection but all of Jesus’ condemnation is directed toward the towns of the Galilee and comparing them with the worst of those who have been condemned already. Sodom and Tyre. You Galilean towns and cities will suffer the same fate for rejecting Jesus, the Messiah, and the message of God. I can imagine them saying, “But Lord, it is the Samaritan towns who are rejecting You, why do You condemn the towns of Galilee?” The tendency of the Jewish disciples would be to condemn the Samaritans, who clearly rejected Christ. But Jesus condemnation was reserved for Israel. Sobering.
The main message here is the amount of revelation and miracles you have been shown will return to condemn you if you still reject God. To reject Jesus is to reject God. Did you catch the other inference here? Note what He said to the disciples. You will be rejected but a rejection of you is actually a rejection of Me. And a rejection of me is a rejection of God. So often we disciples are reluctant to open our mouths to give witness for fear of rejection. But take heart (if you are able) in the fact that is not you they are rejecting; it is the Christ in you.
The squeaking wheel doesn’t always get the grease? Sometimes it gets replaced!Rick Godwin
Judas HEARD all Christ’s sermons.. We often comment on the quality of message, but do we actually apply it?Alex Wira
People are not our problem. Our problem is the way we respond to our problems (or to them).Joyce Meyer
Being quick to judge and condemn is a tool of the insecure to protect themselves.Ian Vail