Title: Curses on the cities of Galilee
Scriptures to Read: Matthew 11:20-30
The Condemnation of three cities
In verses 20-24 Jesus condemns three cities because most of his miracles were performed in these cities. He performed miracles elsewhere, but the majority of his miracles were performed within these three cities, and in spite of all these miracles, both messianic and non-messianic, they chose to reject Him. The three cities are Chorazin and Bethsaida (v21), and Capernaum (v23). We have records of what He did in Bethsaida and what he did in Capernaum, but we have no record of any miracle performed in Chorazin. There is not even a record of him going there or leaving there. And yet, based upon this verse He must have been there many times and performed many miracles there. This again verifies what John writes at the end of his gospel, that it would have been impossible for anybody to write about everything that He said and did.
More light; more punishment
This passage also shows that there are going to be degrees of punishment in the Lake of Fire. While all unbelievers will end up in the Lake of Fire, they will not all suffer to the same degree. In verse 22 He says, “it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.” And in verse 24, “it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.” Those who had the most exposure to the light and rejected the light will suffer greater degrees of punishment.
The Explanation of Unbelief
In verses 25-27 Jesus gives the explanation of their unbelief; in that those who saw themselves as wise and full of understanding (pride!) are the ones who ended up failing to see the truth. And those who were more ignorant were the ones who recognized the truth.
The Invitation to belief and discipleship
Finally, in verses 28-30 you have an invitation to belief and discipleship. He begins with the words, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” That involves believing on him which will result in salvation. (Isaiah 55). And in verse 29 He says “take My yoke.” A.T. Robertson notes: “Take my yoke was a rabbinic figure of speech meaning to come and learn, come to a school. And so rabbis would often pick certain people and say, “take my yoke”, “come to my rabbinic school and learn my teachings.” Now, after becoming believers we have to learn what He expects of us. And so, following salvation which is simply an act of faith, discipleship requires a level of study and commitment. Verse 30: “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” By way of contrast with the heavy burden of Pharisaic Judaism, the teaching of Jesus is easy or light.