Woe unto thee, Chorazin!
Photo of the ruined 3rd century synagogue at Chorazin, 2015 by Lev.Tsimbler
Where Science Meets Religion by Trent Dee Stephens, PhD, for the Come Follow Me lesson April 17–23: Matthew 18; Luke 10
We are told in Luke chapter 10 that the Lord appointed seventy missionaries and sent them out two by two to prepare the way for him “into every city and place, whither he himself would come.” (Luke 10:1) In giving the seventy their charge, Christ said to them, “…into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city. Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.” (Luke 10:10-15)
So whatever happened to Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum? We were told of the same warning given back in Matthew 11:21-24, when Christ was praising the work of John the Baptist, “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.”
But then Chorazin is not mentioned again in the New Testament, neither is a report given, as far as I know, of the mission of the seventy. Did they dust off their feet against those, or other, cities? To my knowledge, we simply do not know. The seventy were told in Luke 10:11 not to take this admonition lightly, “…notwithstanding be ye sure of this…” Maybe they never dusted off their shoes against any of those cities. The twelve apostles were given the same charge when they were sent out (Luke 9:5), but we don’t know if they ever shook the dust from their feet. We are told in Acts 13:51 that when the Jews of Antioch turned against Paul and Barnabas, “…they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.”
So what if anything happened to Antioch? Was there some great asteroid burst over the city like the one that destroyed Sodom? Apparently not. According to Acts 11:26, “…the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” The city continued to be a significant Middle-eastern center for many years, only declining into relative insignificance during the Middle Ages as the result of several earthquakes, war, and changing trade routes.
Likewise with Chorazin. It apparently was partially destroyed by an earthquake, but not until the fourth century. Archaeological excavations have found very little of the first-century city as it existed in Christ’s time. The synagogue that has been revealed by archaeological excavations was probably built in the third century.
We have no information as to whether the people of Chorazin or the Jews of Antioch suffered any personal catastrophes as a result of missionaries dusting off their feet against the people of those cities. Perhaps all we can say about those people, and anyone else who turns away missionary emissaries of Christ is that they do suffer personal consequences by what they miss out on by rejecting the gospel of peace and love.
This post is latter than my normal posts because I just returned last night from a trip to Greenville, NC where I met with several US thalidomide survivors and a wonderful actress/producer, Ashley Bratcher. Kathleen and I just watched Ashley’s YouTube video about her upcoming movie “Pharma” being produced by Angel Studios. This is a viewer-funded studio and production. Their goal is $5,000,000 so they can start shooting. The movie is about Francis Kelsey, who is a US hero. Ashley also interviewed all of us at Greenville and hopes to produce this as a documentary film, in addition to the movie. Please invest in this very worthy project, which not only highlights a little-known American hero but also will bring attention to the overlooked US thalidomide survivors. To watch the YouTube video go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=ycc8vTqVbG8. Please help spread the word.
Please join me for my weekly discussions of Where Science Meets Religion – The Infinite Creation – 6 PM each Thursday at the Century Ward meeting house Primary room (at 4th and Fredregill, Pocatello). Two weeks ago we finished our discussion of the Creation of Early Animals. This week we will discuss: Dinosaurs Were Part of the Infinite Creation. I also will be Zooming the sessions: Meeting ID: 935 754 2152 Passcode: nka
Trent Dee Stephens