"Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. 'Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.'" Matthew 11:20-24 (NIV)
I have often heard the illustration that if God doesn't judge America then God will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah. First of all, God will not have to apologize to anyone. God is holy and in God’s holiness God is morally perfect in all God’s ways. Yet for those of us who live in the United States of America we see evil all around us and we may wonder what type of judgement our country and the people in our country will face.
If our neighbors and those who live in our country may face the dreaded judgment of God, then that should cause all of us, who claim to be children of God, to pray for them and to share the good news to them.
But if we look at this chapter in context we’ll see that people, including John the Baptist himself, were thinking that Jesus wasn’t doing what they expected a Messiah to be doing. In this portion of scripture Jesus is warning that when He judges things will go worse for the cities that have received so much light compared to those who have not. This goes along with this verse from one of Jesus’ parables:
"But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." Luke 12:48 (NIV)
We, who follow Jesus, are entrusted to be His love and light in the world. We have been given much, God’s Word and the Holy Spirit to enable us to live and love and to be like Jesus, carrying out His mission in this world.
There is another quote that haunts me. Years ago, Tony Campolo was speaking, if I remember right, in a chapel service at a Christian college when he said,
“I have three things I’d like to say today. First, while you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don’t give a [expletive]. What’s worse is that you’re more upset with the fact I just said [expletive] than you are that 30,000 kids died last night.”
With all that is going on around us in our country today - let us not get distracted by politics and policies and flags and statues, but be concerned about people that Jesus died for.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (NIV)