Importance of Repentance

Matthew 11:20-24
Ex 2:1-15a / Psa 69

. . . if the miracles done among you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
(Matthew 11: 23)

Those who don’t know how to listen
Will find it hard to feel remorse;
Read the Word as it is written:
Repentance is our sole recourse.

Then Jesus began to criticize openly the cities in which He had done many of His miracles, because they had not repented. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles done in you had been done 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 exalted to heaven? No, you will be thrown down to Hades! For if the miracles done among you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for the region of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you!” (Matthew 11:20-24)

Reflection

Along the shores of the Sea of Galilee were once found the four beautiful ancient towns of Capernaum, Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Tiberias. Only the city of Tiberias is still existing in the present day. What happened to the other three? In today’s Gospel passage of Matthew, Jesus made the prophecy that a greater tragedy would befall Chorazin and Bethsaida than what happened to Tyre and Sidon, and that Capernaum would suffer a worse fate than the city of Sodom. History records that in AD 400, a massive earthquake destroyed the three cities. Only the city of Tiberias was spared. Our Lord’s prophecy against Capernaum and the two unrepentant cities was thus fulfilled. Significantly, Jesus never uttered a word of judgment against the city of Tiberias. It is still standing today, and flourishing, after nearly two thousand years.

Capernaum once enjoyed the honor of being the special place of Jesus’ ministry. He recruited many of His apostles there, like Peter, Andrew, James, John and Matthew. He performed many of His miracles in His adopted town, such as: the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law (Mt.8:14-15), the centurion’s servant (Mt.8:5-7), the paralytic (Mt.9:2,7), and the casting out of demons (Mk.1:23-27). It was also near this town that the miraculous feeding of the four thousand occurred (Mk.8:6-9). And yet, in spite of all the signs that Jesus performed in Capernaum, the people there remained impassive and unrepentant, and like what happened in Nazareth, they eventually began to resent and oppose Him. They saw the many great miracles, and heard Jesus’ words of truth and wisdom, but they refused to repent and believe. Thus, the people of Capernaum sealed their own fate, and like Sodom before it, as our Lord had predicted, it disappeared into the dustbin of history.

The fate of Capernaum, Chorazin and Bethsaida serve as a historical lesson that the way of unrepentance can only lead to physical and spiritual destruction. Even those that enjoy a special place in God’s heart will never last if they persist in their sins. And as it is with cities that do not repent, so it is with faithless people who are inflicted with the modern “plagues” like cancer, stroke, liver ailments, etc. Their time for repentance is also at hand. In the face of life’s small disasters, these are clearly signs that we are being called — to be transformed and believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior –- before it’s too late.

Lord God, we believe that all things that happen in our lives serve an important purpose. Our sickness or misfortune even makes us realize the greater damnation that we would face without reconciliation. In repentance therefore, we pray that the most precious blood of Jesus may wash away all our sins. Amen.

One Response to “Importance of Repentance”

  1. toybits2  on October 19th, 2009

    please God forgive me, I have violated all the ten commandments of God. Please forgive me. nagsisisi po ako ng lubos. sana po mapatawad pa ako ng Panginoon.