A number of my friends have asked me about my recent trip to Israel. God showed me so many things that it will take me quite some time to get all my thoughts down in print. Here is just one observation that the Holy Spirit revealed to me while in the Galilee region. Our team visited Capernaum. We saw the remains of St. Peter’s house and a synagogue built shortly after the time of Christ.
Jesus did a number of great miracles in the city. A number of Jesus’ disciples lived in the city. He healed a Centurion’s servant from the city. He brought back a girl from the dead there and healed a demon possessed man in the city’s synagogue. This is where Jesus avoided a trap by the religious leaders and said, “Give to Caesar the things that belong to Caesar and to God the things that belong to God.” How did this great city respond to Jesus? At first they embraced Him. But they did not remain true to His teachings. They fell away. Jesus eventually spoke a curse on this and many of the other cities where He did some of His greatest miracles.
Consider the following Scripture (Matthew 11:21- 24):
Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee,
Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
Many people saw Jesus do great things at Capernaum. Yet, they did not truly believe. They were amazed by Jesus. But they did not follow Him.
Their faithless response brought destruction on them. As I walked through the ruins of the city, I saw the reality of Jesus’ curse on the city. It had been destroyed. And in the Day of Judgment, it will not receive mercy.
I was also struck by the fact that many people did not follow Jesus even though they had seen Him do great things. The same can be said of the Apostle Paul. Success in the kingdom of God is all about our relationship with the Father and obedience to His divine will. Jesus was not a failure just because so many rejected Him. When people fall away, we should not be surprised. If the masses rejected Jesus and Paul, we may receive a similar reaction.
Capernaum stands as a lesson to us today. We should not reject the move of God or take His provocation lightly. Those who see God’s hand and yet refuse to obey will suffer even greater punishment on the Day of Judgment.