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! (Mt 11:20, 21)
Korazin and Bethsaida were once thriving fishing cities on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus visited these towns often and did many miracles there. In the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, they were destroyed by two earthquakes and never rebuilt. Today you can see the ruins of a great synagogue and many foundations of houses. In the rubble they found household objects, pots, wine containers, olive presses and nails. They also found idols, figurines, pottery jugs used for ritual practices, bronze incense shovels and amulets. All these tell a tragic story of rebellion, mixing the worship of Jehovah with pagan rituals for protection, prosperity and fertility. Their sin was not just a city event, but personal and real; it affected people and their family life.
Bethsaida was the home town of Peter, Andrew and Philip. It was here that Jesus preached the Gospel to multitudes and healed their sick. In Bethsaida a blind man received his sight but the miracle was done ‘outside the village’. For whatever reason, Jesus felt safer to do a miracle outside the city crowd. With his sight restored Jesus advised the man to relocate, not to go back home. This reveals resident doubt mixed with religious pride, a poison that is able to kill the faith in revival in any city.
Jesus cursed the two cities because they received the benefit of His visit and miracles but remained proud, stubborn and committed to idolatry. They refused to repent of their false worship, to humble themselves and to give Him all the glory.
The kindness and the grace of God manifested in answered prayers and miracles is the road that leads us to the Cross, to repentance and true conversion. Taking the grace of God for granted is a very dangerous way for a believer. Sin is like cancer, a plague that spreads and it affects more and more people, families, cities and nations. Sin is a disgrace, a source of shame and humiliation, leading to the loss of the favor of God…God forbid!
May God grant a revival of repentance to the city of Warri, Nigeria!
Personally, I am a stick saved from the fire of sin and of the world. I was slowly burning to death, my mind foolish from the darkness of unbelief, my eyes blind with the smoke of doubt; my lungs collapsed without the oxygen of hope, completely drained of all will to live…. I was a burnt-out, useless soul and ready to perish…
But Christ…But Christ lifted me….He stretched His scarred hand into the fire of my sin and plucked me out at the last minute…I remember, once or twice I tried to jump out of the fire of judgment, but fell back into the hotter side of hell. I could not save myself! I needed a Savior and He came to me…
So how can I forget His mercy? How can I forget His touch, His healing hands, His power that came down and anchored my soul to the mercy seat…His intimate love song oiled my broken heart…Out of the ashes of my despair He gave me beauty, He gave me eternal life…
If I forget You Lord, let my hand forget its skill and let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth…You are my Chiefest Joy and my Everlasting Praise!
I vow to give You all the glory, to be Your friend, all the days of my life!
This is my pledge and this is my promise!
So help me God!
IN CHRIST I DECLARE
I am not saved by man, but by God, by Jesus Christ!
I do immediately and honestly repent of any sin revealed to me by the Holy Spirit!
I do not complain, I do not postpone, I do not minimize or ignore repentance!
I cherish the humility that comes from divine wisdom!
I receive favor with God and man because I am now humble!
The grace of God is sufficient for me for all situations and circumstances! I desire nothing more!
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ heals, delivers, protects and prospers me! I shall not want!
I preach the Gospel of Christ Crucified which includes the command: ‘REPENT, for the kingdom of God is near!’
I call sin by its name: SIN! I do not compromise by calling it mistake, weakness or error.
It is sin that nailed my Lord on the Cross and I must remember the danger, power and judgment of sin always!
I say with the prodigal: ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you…please forgive me’
I come back home to the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit!
I do not willingly grieve the Holy Spirit!
I serve God; I worship Him with all my heart, strength and understanding!
I fear God and obey all His commandments!
I teach my children to do the same!
I shall give God all the glory, all my life, for He alone is worthy!
In Jesus name
(The picture shows the ruins of Chorazin and Bethsaida in Israel today)
(Jn 1:44, Lk 9:10, 11; Mk 8:22-26, 11: 20-22; Rom 2:1-11; Ps 137; PV 14:34; Amos 4:11-13)