No Need for a Final “Woe”
Jesus didn’t use “woe” often, but when He did, He meant it and it meant far more than stop.
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida; for if the mighty things done among you would have been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. Nevertheless, it will be better for Tyre and Sidon than for you in that day.
And you, Capernaum, though you will be exalted to the heaven, you shall be brought down to Hades (the abode of the ungodly dead cf. Luke 16:23, Revelation 20:13-14.)
He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” Luke 10:13-16
When Jesus mentioned Tyre and Sidon in this passage to His Jewish followers, they would have heard “Hitler’s Nazi Berlin,” or “Stalin’s Stalingrad” –arrogant, violent, godless powers that justly faced divine destruction. In the Ancient World, Alexander the Great destroyed Tyre and Sidon, exactly as the Hebrew prophets predicted. Check it out in Isaiah 23, Jeremiah 25:22, 47:4, Ezekiel 26:1-28:24, Joel 3:4-8, Amos 1:9-10. What grabs my attention in this passage, however, is that Jesus applied stronger threats of judgment to Chorazin and Bethesda, two small fishing villages on the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee and to Capernaum, the city He made His hometown. Why the greater judgment?
These cities had seen direct demonstrations of Jesus’ miraculous power that proved that God’s Son had come for a visit; therefore, when they rejected Him or His representatives, they would justly receive a greater degree of punishment in hell. On the other hand, the fact that Jesus said this even before He sent His ambassadors into these cities stresses that there was still time for individuals in these cities to open their hearts to Jesus and His rule.
Today we live in a culture that easily uses the name “Jesus,” like a business brand, to give credibility to the latest fad of so-called “love” being pushed. In the present climate of “tolerance” we hardly ever hear about Jesus, the final Judge. This silence doesn’t alter the reality. It’s time for those who reject Jesus or those who represent Him to wake up and realize they are in danger of eternal judgment.
Mary and I are committed to connecting with those who haven’t accurately heard about this biblical Jesus, both His love and His judgment, by teaching the full Story of Scripture.
Jesus means it when He says “Woe,” but there’s no need to hear this sentence of judgment. There’s still time to receive Him into the home of your heart today. And for those of us who have received Him it’s time to get serious about letting others know we are connected with Jesus and not ashamed of Him.
An easy way to reach out to your friends is to listen to Truth Encounter this week, Dead In The Wilderness from 1 Corinthians. Ask a friend to check it out at OnePlace.com, and then go to Starbucks and over a cup of coffee ask them what they thought.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!
You can also listen to weekly messages from Dave on OnePlace.com.