Reproaches to Unrepentant Towns (Luke 10:13-16)

Why are miracles so important?  What’s their significance?  In the ancient world, when people saw miracles they knew that God was ultimately behind them.  Simply put, when a miracle was performed it meant that God was with the person performing the mighty deed.  So if a prophet performed a miracle, it attested to the truth of his words.  If the prophet performed a mighty deed and also preached repentance, then you knew that God Himself was calling you to conversion.

Reproaches to Unrepentant Towns

13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.

14 But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you.

15 And as for you, Capernaum, ‘Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld.’”

16 Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”

Jesus tells us that mighty deeds – miracles – were performed in Chorazin and Bethsaida, yet they didn’t repent.  When Jesus pronounces the woes against the unrepentant towns He is using prophetic language; Old Testament prophets spoke the same way.  That is, in the Old Testament, when a prophet carried a message from God to a sinful leader or a sinful people, if the person or the people ignored the warning, then the prophet would pronounce a great woe against them.  It signified that since they didn’t repent then they were headed for calamity.

How often have you thought: I would really have liked to hear Jesus preach in person?  Do you think it would make a difference in your spirituality, in your holiness, if you could actually have heard Jesus preach or see Him perform His miracles?  Do you wonder how these towns could have rejected Him?

When we think of the people that rejected Jesus, we have to remember that we have something they didn’t have.  We have the gift of the Holy Spirit.  They might say “can you imagine what it would be like to have the indwelling of God?  Can you imagine what it would be like to share in the divine nature?  Is there anything you couldn’t believe?  Is there any way your life could ever be the same?”

So we have to wonder.  The unrepentant towns saw mighty deeds and they didn’t repent.   But don’t mighty deeds pale in comparison to having the gift of the Holy Spirit.  If Christ pronounced woes against them for their unrepentance, then what would he pronounce against us if we aren’t moved to conversion?

Our prayerful response can be to thank God for the gift of the Holy Spirit and to pray for the grace of conversion.

Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition© 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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