Matthew 11: 20-24
Isa 7:1-9 / Psa 48
Then Jesus began to criticize openly the cities in which He had done many of His miracles, because they had not repented.
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)
Repentance is both an act of God and a choice of man. Repentance comes as a grace from God, and man, realizing his sinfulness and the need for change, accepts the grace and repents. Unrepentance or impenitence however, is the choice of man alone. It is the utter rejection of God’s forgiveness due to one’s obstinate pride or self-righteousness. There are also times when tragedy, great loss, or severe affliction turns one’s heart to stone and he or she loses faith in God. But in most cases, God’s mercy and grace can still turn a man’s heart and will back to Him. It is His initiative that opens the way to genuine repentance.
But woe to those who will not reconcile with their Creator! There are enough examples in the Bible to show how countries and entire civilizations, however great, that did not repent and conform to the Creator’s will were destroyed, or simply faded into oblivion. Sodom and Gomorra, the Babylonian empire, the kingdom of Israel itself (under King David and his son, Solomon), Imperial Rome, and many others, fell apart and disappeared as reminders to mankind that the impenitent on earth can never persevere. Because they all served as bastions of evil resistance against the final judgment of mankind– the Armageddon that St. John the evangelist wrote in his book of Revelation. In chapter sixteen of Revelation, John wrote about the seven bowls of God’s wrath being poured out upon the unrepentant people of earth. These seven pestilences are starkly reminiscent of the seven plagues that Yahweh God visited upon Egypt in the book of Exodus because of the Pharaoh’s hardened heart, before he finally allowed the chosen people to leave for the promised land. For His faithful ones, however, God promised that “no plagues shall go near your tent.” (Ps 91:10)
Even today, the modern “plagues” now afflicting people we know (cancer, stroke, diabetes, kidney and liver ailments, etc.) are timely reminders that the time for repentance is at hand. In the midst of life’s small disasters we are called to be transformed and believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior – before the 7 golden bowls are poured out and it is too late. Let us heed the words of Jesus, the worse will come without remorse; we know that there is no excuse, repentance is our last recourse. “Even now, declares the LORD, return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity.” (Joel 2:12-13)
Thank You, Father God for making us realize that we would face damnation without repentance. May the most precious blood of Jesus wash away all our sins, so that we may be found worthy and ready upon His return. Amen.