I Want to Believe

“Whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, on that day it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that town.

“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But at the judgment it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades.

“Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.” (Luke 10:10–16)

What does it take to get people to believe? It depends on whether people want to believe. Jesus did most of his teaching and miracles in the region around the Sea of Galilee. Chorazin was a town about two miles north of Capernaum. Bethsaida was located at the northeast corner of the Sea of Galilee where the Jordan river flows into it. Both cities had witnessed Jesus’ teaching and his miracles. But most of the inhabitants had not been convinced. So Jesus condemned them by suggesting Tyre and Sidon would have repented if they’d gotten to see such marvels.

But if Tyre and Sidon would have repented had the miracles that were done in Chorazin and Bethsaida been done in them, then why didn’t God do such miracles for them? Isn’t it God’s will that no one should perish? If there was a way of saving those cities, then why didn’t God save them?

By condemning Chorazin and Bethsaida Jesus was not suggesting that there had been hope for those wicked cities of the past. Jesus’ point was simply that Chroazin and Bethsaida were without excuse. Jesus had done enough for them. They should have believed. Now that they had rejected Jesus, their blood would be on their own heads. Those ancient, evil cities had only had God’s prophets in their midst, men like Isaiah and Ezekiel. Chorazin and Bethsaida had God himself in their midst, in the person of Jesus Christ. To whom much was given, much would be required. Like them, we have no excuse for not believing.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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