Summary: A sovereign move of God elicits a response from us.
A Messiah Who Elicits A Response
Text: Matt. 11:20-24
1. Illustration: In the movie The Untouchables, Eliot Ness, played by Kevin Costner, is frustrated because he cannot bring down Al Capone. So he asks for a street wise Irish beat cop, played by Sean Connery, for his help. The Irish cop agrees under one condition. He said always be ready to answer the question "What are you prepared to do?" He told Ness, "If he sends one of your to the hospital, send one of his to the morgue!" Later in the movie, the Irish cop is shot by one of Capone’s men and Ness finds him barely alive and in a pool of his own blood. With his dying breath, he grabs Ness by the tie and says, "What are you prepared to do?"
2. Today we need to answer the question, "What are we prepared to do?" We have seen a sovereign move of God, and God wants to know "What are you prepared to do?"
3. Proposition: A sovereign move of God elicits a response from us.
a. A demonstration of God’s power should produce change
b. A lack of change will bring God’s judgment
4. Read Matt. 11:20-24
Transition: Experiencing the power of God carries with great responsibility.
I. A Demonstration of God’s Power Should Produce Change (20-22).
A. Because They Hadn’t Repented
1. The sad reality is that we do not always respond to God’s kindness as we should.
2. After spending a great deal of his public ministry in Galilee, Luke tells us, "Then Jesus began to denounce the towns where he had done so many of his miracles, because they hadn’t repented of their sins and turned to God."
a. "Then" indicates that Jesus considered his ministry in Galilee to be over.
b. Here we see Jesus shows his displeasure that they miracles he performed there didn’t illicit a greater response.
c. Divine grace had fallen powerfully on this area, but the more God’s power is demonstrated the responsibility is required in response to that power (Horton, 221).
d. The verb "to denounce", is a strong verb, conveying indignation along with either insults or justifiable reproach (Carson, Expositor’s Bible Commentary, The, Pradis CD-ROM).
e. Luke 12:48 (NLT)
But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.
3. He addresses their lack of response by saying, “What sorrow awaits you, Korazin and Bethsaida!"
a. This term is traditionally been translated "woe."
b. This is not a curse as much as it is an expression of sadness due to divine judgment.
c. He was saddened because of their lack of response to the miracles he had performed there.
d. He knew that because of what they had seen and heard they would be held responsible and would have to answer for their lack of response.
4. He tells them, "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."
a. Tyre and Sidon were non-Jewish ports on the Mediterranean coast.
b. In the OT they were frequently objects of divine wrath because they were so immoral.
c. Jesus said if they had seen what those in Korazin and Bethsaida has witnessed they would have repented a long time ago.
d. Repent: to change one’s manner of life, with the implication of turning toward God - ’to change one’s ways, to turn to God, to repent (Louw and Nidda, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Symantic Domains).
e. In this Scripture, repentance is a turning away from sin and turning toward God.
f. It is a change of mind, a forsaking of sin. It is putting sin out of one’s thoughts and behavior.
g. It is resolving never to think or do a thing again (Practical Word Studies in The New Testament).
h. Burlap and ashes were common signs of mourning and repentance.
i. The mourning garment resembled a sack made from goat’s hair that was worn next to the naked body.
j. Ash was sprinkled over the head, or it might be sat upon (Horton, 221).
k. This is how the wicked people of Tyre and Sidon would have responded had they experienced the power of God at work.
l. However, Korazin and Bethsaida would be judged more severely because they had more opportunity to repent of their sins and didn’t.
5. Jesus tells them, "I tell you, Tyre and Sidon will be better off on judgment day than you."