About Worship Bible Camp Outreach Sermons Links Contact
About Worship Bible Camp Outreach Sermons Links Contact

An Unpleasant Surprise


Matthew 11:20-24

I read a story this past week about a high school student who took a math test…and the reason his story caught my attention is because I have done the same thing.

Well, the teacher started handing back the test papers…and as she did the student glanced over and saw the grade of the student next to him…and it was a D-.

About that time the teacher put his paper upside down on his desk. He turned it over expecting to see a nice, big “A”…but instead, it said, “37%, “F”!

Here in this passage that was read we find some people who had an even more unpleasant surprise!

If you remember John the Baptizer is in prison and has been there for about 12 months.

Well, Jesus sends back confirmation to John that He really is the “Expected One” and for John to remain faithful to Him no matter what happens.

But then Jesus makes a comparison in verses 16-17.

Look at verse 20: Then He began to reproach the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent.

And notice why He is reproaching them: They had seen the miracles…not just a few…but “most of His miracles”…we don’t know for sure how many but John says in John 20 that there were “many that were not even recorded.”

As a result, look at what Jesus says next:  21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 “Nevertheless I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment, than for you.

23 “And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You shall descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. 24 “Nevertheless I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.” 

Now, let me go back and point out a couple of things.

Back in verse 21 Jesus mentions Tyre and Sidon…and in verse 23 He mentions Sodom.

I don’t think that is what Jesus is saying here.

If you go over to Isaiah 23 and Ezekiel 26-28 and Amos 1:9 and Joel 3:6 the people of Tyre and Sidon were some of the most money-mad and cruel people you will ever find.

And we know what the Sodomites did.

Now, notice the end of verse 22: “Nevertheless I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment, than for you.

And look at verse 24:  “Nevertheless I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.”

Are there different degrees of punishment in hell…is there punishment level 1, and punishment level 2, and punishment level 3?

I don’t think so.

I believe that what Jesus is doing here is He is emphasizing how far God has pulled away from these people…how revolting they are in the sight of God…how disgusting they are to God!

Why? Because in spite of all the evidence…in spite of what the prophets of old said…in spite of what John came preaching…in spite of all the miracles…in spite of people being raised from the DEAD…they hardened themselves…would rather believe a lie instead of the obvious truth…

And I don’t mean to be negative, but isn’t this what a lot of people do today?

Catholic Church taking a softer stand on same sex marriages and abortion.

Now, we can look at this passage and say it is so negative…talking about the judgment!

So, let’s look at it from a positive point of view…this passage manifests Jesus’ love for all because He is warning those who are in danger and calling them to repent and be saved.

Matt 11:25-30   At that time Jesus answered and said, “I praise Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou didst hide these things from the wise and intelligent and didst reveal them to babes. 26 “Yes, Father, for thus it was well-pleasing in Thy sight. 27 “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son, except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. 28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 “Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls.  30 “For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.” 

On a regular basis I meet people who are good people…they are smart, intelligent, well- people.

But some day, they will stand before the Lord, and they might snicker at what others receive…but because they have rejected Jesus…because they didn’t need Jesus…because they only wanted the parts of Jesus they liked…because they think they can do it on their own…or because they want to continue to live a life of sin…when the verdict is read…they will be in for a very unpleasant surprise.