Summary: Today, we are told that humankind is getting better, and that we are also better. But that is not correct, since in the past, there were times when all men knew about God, and most men worshiped Him. That was true for generations after Adam left the Gard
Woes Upon the Privileged
I have titled my message, “Jesus Pronounces Woes Upon the Privileged”. By privileged, I don’t mean those who are wealthy and prominent or those who are members of the upper classes; but I am referring to those who have had the privilege of hearing the Gospel.
Today, we are told that humankind is getting better, and that we are also better. But that is not correct, since in the past, there were times when all men knew about God, and most men worshiped Him. That was true for generations after Adam left the Garden of Eden. However, we read in the Bible, that mankind turned from God to idols, and that he became so corrupt, that every imagining of his heart was continually evil. That is why God sent the flood and started over with Noah. Noah and his family came through the flood, and once again, for generations all men recognized God, but in the long run they turned from God to idols. It is not too long after the flood that we come in the Bible to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. The account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is found in Genesis. The people of those cities were depraved, and they had rejected God. God punished Sodom and Gomorrah, and 2000 years afterward Jesus reprimanded the cities Capernaum, Chorazin and Bethsaida, and warned them that they may face a similar fate. These were cities of privilege, as we shall see, yet Jesus said, “Woe unto you.” Let’s look first at how God dealt with Sodom and Gomorrah.
In Genesis we read, Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; (Genesis 19:24)
God saw to it that Lot was safely inside Zoar, and then the rain came. Brimstone and fire fell from heaven, bringing total destruction to Sodom, Gomorrah and all of the cities of the plain. That day had dawned clear and bright, with no sign of the impending storm; then the storm came to demonstrate that it was not from natural causes. In Job 31:3, it says, “Is not destruction to the wicked? and a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity?” God’s punishment is called “strange” by people, because His ways are not our ways, and therefore they seem strange to us. He is our Savior, but He will also be the destroyer of all who reject Him. God had poured out His anger over all mankind by sending a flood; now He uses fire to annihilate the depraved people who lived in these cities. It was all wiped out-people, animals, vegetation, buildings; the destruction was total and absolute.
Jesus’ word of warning to the cities of His time, and by the way, also to us today is found in Matthew 11, verses 20-30. Here, He pronounces woe upon those who had the great privilege of hearing the Gospel, and seeing the miracles that were done, but did not repent of their sins, and believe in Him.
It says in verse 20, Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:
He had not spoken unkindly to these people, previous to this. At the outset, they received Him cheerfully, and He had made Capernaum His home. Since then, they had begun to ridicule both John and Himself.
He did more miracles in these cities, as well as his greatest miracles. In Capernaum alone, He healed the centurion’s servant, recovered Peter’s Wife’s mother from a fever, restored to health the man sick of the palsy, raised Jarius’ daughter from the dead, made well the woman who had a bloody issue, opened the eyes of two blind men, and expelled an evil spirit from a man possessed by one. He did all of these things, and more, in this one city, so He was just in admonishing them. What more did they expect the Messiah to do? The answer, not surprisingly, is that they expected Him to conform to their opinions, which arose from their own desires, not from the promises in God’s word. They sought after a deliverer, which would liberate them from the oppression of Rome and make their nation once again great; not one that had come humbly to save their souls.
He came to save men, but men are not truly saved, unless they are, in fact, sorry for their sin. God loves us, but we are not saved by His love; but by the death and resurrection of Christ, and by faith in Him. Jesus taught that faith and repentance are two sides of the coin, we call salvation. Both will take place in the heart of a believer, but they may not happen at the same time, or in a specific order. That is because, faith in Jesus Christ leads us to see our great wickedness, and the man who understands he is a sinner is ripe to receive the Gospel. The ways in which men come to be saved, shows the great insight of God, for sending such a Great One as Christ.