Last week I talked about how prophecy seemed to indicate that the United States part in in the plan seemed to be analogous to roadkill. I’m sure some of you might have said, “But we’re one nation (mostly) under God! How can this be?'” Well, this morning’s Ed Bousman sermon kinda pointed out I might need to answer this question.
Now, one way to do that might be to go down through the appropriate Biblical chapters in Ezekiel and Revelation and list all the similarities to Tyre and Babylon the Great. But I think it might be better to list the qualities of the cities mentioned in the post title and then look at things. These were three towns nestled at the north end of the Sea of Galilee. Between them, they were the homes of the apostles, Peter, Andrew, James, John, and Phillip. Capernaum was basically Jesus’ headquarters according to Matthew 4:13 and 9:1. The list of miracles performed in the area was astounding- the feeding of the 5,000, healing a blind man, healing the centurion’s servant, healing a nobleman’s son, healing of Peter’s mother-in-law, curing the paralytic, casting out numerous demons. As Ed Bousman said, “It should have been the easiest place in the world to believe in Jesus…”
…But what happened?
20 Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades.[e] For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.” Matt. 11:20-24
Just to flesh out what the reference to Sodom entails, Bousman reminded us of Jude 7:
7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
Get the picture? Because Christ LIVED AMONG THEM and they refused to believe, they were going to be worse off than people WHO’D ALREADY BEEN ROASTING IN HELL FOR 4,000 YEARS!
And then, Bousman added the line that by now you must know is coming: “Woe to you, Capernaum! Woe to you… America…”
Just like them, we are the easiest place in the world to know and believe in Jesus. And yet atheists are between 2-6% of the population and rising, and as many as 12% describe themselves as “non-religious”. And these are old numbers, people. And lest you say, well, 2% isn’t bad, remember that Mark says (1:29ff) that in Capernaum, the WHOLE CITY turned out after getting wind of the healing of Peter’s mom-in-law- but turning out doesn’t necessarily equal belief.
I accidently came up with an analogy this morning when I found my box of q-tips was down to the last two. “Put one back in, “ my dumb jokey voice in my head said, “and it will keep returning every morning, like the oil and flour in the widow’s jars.” I replied, It don’t work that way. The flour and oil was a miracle. Q-tips would be a convenience.”
Isn’t that what people want from God these days? A “miracle of convenience”? How many times I’ve heard, “I won’t believe in a god without proof”- basically, Habeus Corpus, God! That would make it convenient to believe. Otherwise, it just gets in the way of my evolution, my homosexuality, my secularism. Sorry, dudes, God never said belief is to be “convenient.” At leats, by the world’s standards.
And yet, Jesus is right here. In this nation. I got a dollar bill right here that says so…