Matthew Chapter Eleven part 7, A study of Matthew 11:21 & 22 and Matthew 11:23 & 24 with our Common Man's Commentary

Matthew 11:21 & 22

"'Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For 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.'" NIV translation

Now, Jesus begins to prophesy of the judgment of the cities that rejected His message of grace. Here, we are reminded of Chorazin and Bethsaida which, along with Capernaum, were what has become known as the "evangelical triangle". They are known as this because the cities form a triangle and that is the area where most of Jesus' teaching and miracles happened.

Those religious cities which would have had many opportunities to see and hear the things that were going on are contrasted to the cities of Tyre and Sidon. They were Roman port cities but there was a great spiritual hunger in that area of the land.

We see, in Mark 3:8, that, when people from Tyre and Sidon just heard about what was happening in Galilee, they went to see and hear Jesus.

Matthew 11:23 & 24

"'And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For 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.'" NIV translation

We see that Capernaum, which was like the center of Jesus' ministry and His headquarters, is compared to one of the most wicked of cities that is spoken of in the Scriptures.

So, what do these ancient cities and their rejection of the Messiah have to do with us? They show us that privilege brings responsibility as the cities of the "evangelical triangle" are going to be judged harder than those that only heard of the Messiah. They had the privilege of seeing and hearing Jesus many times while the residents of the other cities did not but, with that privilege, comes responsibility because they could not say that they had not been told.

In the same way, the people of today that do not accept Jesus will be judged even harder than those of the "evangelical triangle" because we have the ability to see the finished work of Jesus on the cross and to make a choice. The people of the triangle did not have the history to look back on like we do.