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A Moment with the Bible

Matthew 11:20-24


As Jesus denounces the Jewish cities where He had performed most of His miracles, He compares them to some of the most notoriously wicked cities in history. Tyre and Sidon were Phoenician cities north of Palestine. God marked out Tyre for utter destruction (Ezekiel 26), which was fulfilled by Alexander the Great in about 323 B.C. As for Sidon, God never pronounced complete destruction, but instead prophesied that they would be repeatedly attacked because of their sins (Ezekiel 28). Sodom is well known for perverse sexual sins including homosexuality (Genesis 19). In fact, God destroyed the four cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim with fire and brimstone. So complete was their destruction that God even destroyed all that grew on the ground. Prior to their destruction, the area that we know now as being around the Dead Sea, was lush with vegetation. Lot had chosen this fertile area in order to raise his flocks. Today, the area around the Dead Sea is a desolate wasteland. Many believe that the ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah lie somewhere beneath the Dead Sea. The Bible repeatedly uses Sodom as an example of the worst kind of wickedness. God could not even find ten righteous people in the city. Only Lot and two of his daughters escaped the destruction.

But the cities Jesus denounces were not cities known for the gross immorality. However, they were given a greater opportunity than anyone in history to repent of their sins. They were eyewitnesses of the miracles of Jesus and yet they did not change their ways. Because of greater opportunity, Judgment Day would be worse for them than it would be for Sodom and Gomorrah. What exactly is meant by judgment being “more tolerable” for Sodom than for these Galilean cities, we are not told. What is important is the application for us. Though we have not actually seen the miracles of Jesus, our freedoms in America have granted us greater opportunities to know God’s word than any in history. If we do not repent and obey the Lord with these advantages, our judgment will also be worse than for the men and women of Sodom.