Matthew 11:20-24 (NLT) Judgment for the Unbelievers
20 Then Jesus began to denounce the towns where he had done so many of his miracles, because they hadn’t repented of their sins and turned to God. 21 “What sorrow awaits you, Korazin and Bethsaida! For if the miracles I did in you had been done in wicked Tyre and Sidon, their people would have repented of their sins long ago, clothing themselves in burlap and throwing ashes on their heads to show their remorse. 22 I tell you, Tyre and Sidon will be better off on judgment day than you.
23 “And you people of Capernaum, will you be honored in heaven? No, you will go down to the place of the dead.[hell] For if the miracles I did for you had been done in wicked Sodom, it would still be here today. 24 I tell you, even Sodom will be better off on judgment day than you.”
Korazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum were Jewish villages near the Sea of Galilee where Jesus performed many powerful miracles. Korazin (Chorazin) was known for the quality of its wheat, but it was also filled with great wickedness. In fact, a synagogue in Korazin featured a stone carved head of Medusa—the snake haired goddess. Think about that for a minute. These Jewish people had gotten so far away from their God, they brought a statue from Greek mythology into the synagogue that was dedicated to Yahweh and worshipped this graven image. They broke the covenant, “You must not have any other god but me; do not make for yourself a graven image or idol” (Ex. 20:3-4).
Bethsaida and Capernaum were equally as wicked, because they did not turn from sin even though God in Christ came near to save them. We cannot hold onto wickedness and be near to God. The biblical definition of wickedness is evil committed consciously by free will or evil in practice. These people who thought they had a relationship with Yahweh because of their heritage or race are told by Christ they will receive the harshest judgment for their wickedness because they know better. As Christians, we must realize God’s expectation for us as his covenant people because his word reveals those expectations and we, too, know better. We cannot engage in the practice of evil or one day we will be confronted by the Lord’s judgment, as well.
Prayer: Lord, until you defeat evil once and for all, wickedness will remain a temptation in this world. I pray for my heart to know the Truth of your will and for my will to choose to live it in Jesus’ name. Amen.