The Book of Luke, Jesusí Reception at Nazareth and Capernaum Ė Lesson 48
Last time we met we compared the events concerning the reception of Jesus Christ at Nazareth and at Capernaum.
The people of Nazareth, the Lord Jesus Christís hometown, were so filled with wrath at the words of Jesus concerning Gentiles, that they took him to the edge of the city and attempted to cast him over a hill with the intention of killing him.
In Capernaum he did not meet with such hatred but instead the people sought him to stay in order to continue his healing ministry.
By all outward appearences it seems that there is a difference between the people of Nazareth and Capernaum but according to the Lord Jesus Christ he did not see any difference because he knew the motives of the people.
Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks on the heart.
To us with our outward looking, we would approve of the people of Capernaum and condemn the people of Nazareth.
But Matthew reports our Lordís true evaluation of the people of Capernaum in:
Matthew 11:20-24, Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: 21Woe unto thee, Chorazin! khor-ad-zin' 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. 22But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. 23And 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. 24But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
It is obvious that the people of both Nazareth and Capernaum completely rejected the message that Jesus Christ preached and only saw him for what benefit they could get from him.
They were simply interested in using Jesus for their own benefit.
The message, which was abhorant to those of these two cities, which both John the Baptist and Jesus proclaimed was this: ďRepent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.Ē
Jesus Christ plainly says that Sodom, that wicked city, would have remained unto his day, had the mighty works that he had done in Capernaum been done in Sodom.
We are so quick to think of the wickedness of Sodom but do we think of Capernaum as a more wicked place?
But the Lord Jesus Christ gives us an indication of how wicked the people of Capernaum were in not repenting of their sins and receiving the Messiah after witnessing the mighty works of Christ.
The message and the miracles of Jesus were simply to support His claim to be Messiah.
But the people of Nazareth and Capernaum only saw Jesus as a miracle worker on their behalf.
But what Jesus did was what Isaiah wrote that the Messiah would do.
They were expected to believe the word of God regarding him and see themselves as God saw them, a sinner in need of repentance.
We see over and over again that the peopleís initial response was one of wonder and praise, but the response died there and did not lead to repentance for they had no faith or belief in the word of God.
And when Jesus refused to be the Messiah, they wished for they rejected Him and sought to put Him to death.
The greater the number of miracles Jesus performed, the greater was the evidence of His Messiahship, and the greater the responsibility they took upon themselves for rejecting Him.
Jesus was popular whenever He used His power to make the lives of the people better and to remove their pain and suffering.
If you want to be popular with people this is what you do.
This is what politicians do to get elected!
Promise to make the lives of the people better and to remove their pain and suffering.
But donít call for repentance and expect to continue to be popular.
Jesus became unpopular when his Fatherís purposes for His life were made known.
The people of Capernaum are really no better than the people of Nazareth.
Both wanted a miracle-working Messiah who would do their bidding.
Those of Nazareth and Capernaum wanted another Jesus, one of their own design and making.
They had preconceived notions of what kind of Messiah would suit them and this Jesus Christ did not meet their expectations.
The kind of Messiah that they imagined in their minds did not call for them to recognize and acknowledge their own sin nor would their Messiah call for their repentance.
It is no different today for the heart is no different today.
Our churches are filled with people who know that Jesus is the Son of God, yet have not submitted to Him, have not bowed the knee in repentance.
There are many in churches today who believe in Jesus as a miracle worker, a healer, or as a great teacher, but not as Savior and the Lord with whom they have to to do.
They see no responsibility to serve or worship.
In reality they have made for themselves another Jesus and not the Jesus of the Bible.
Such people are no better than those who immediately and openly reject Jesus for who He is.
For Jesus said He who is not for me is against me!
But those who continue to be under the sound of the gospel and are called to repent and do not, will face a greater judgement for with such knowledge comes greater responsibility.
To whom much is given, much is required the Bible says.
This is why Jesus held Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum more accountable than Tyre, Sidon, or Sodom for these cities had not seen the mighty works of Jesus Christ.
Knowledge brings responsibility.
It is dangerous to be under the teaching of truth and not respond to that truth.
If you are not going to respond to the truth you would be better off not being here in this class for God will hold you accountable for the truth that is taught here.
Jesus Christ is Godís Messiah, and our response to Him is to be repentant and believe.
The people of Nazareth and Capernaum and the people of Milton Florida, desperately need the forgiveness of their sins, far more than they need any physical healing or mighty miracles.
Donít you suppose that the prayers that come up to God all over the world for healing of the body are much more than for the healing of the soul?
But the primary task for which our Lord came to earth was to seek and to save that which was lost.
Salvation is Godís primary gift to men, which we are indebted to receive.
To receive Godís other gifts, and to reject His gift of salvation, is an offense against God, and will not be forgiven by God.
When we read of the Nazarenes and those of Capernaum we are to see it as a warning that we are not to be like them who loved the gracious words and the healing of Jesus but hated the call to repentance and belief.
God is careful to give us this scripture so that we are not like the Nazarenes, those of Capernaum.
Our obligation, our reasonable responsibilty is to repent, to believe and to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior.
All other gifts God gives will be in vain and temporal unless there is salvation in your life.
That is why Jesus Christ pronounced woe on these cities where his mighty works were done but where repentance was lacking.