On today’s Bible Answer Man broadcast (09/08/21), Hank returns to his series on the Gospel of Matthew, picking back up where he left off in chapter 11. Starting in verse 20, we see Jesus rebuke the cities in which most of His miraculous works were done, for they had not repented. These words from Jesus are more than chilling! He has been doing mighty works—things never before experienced upon the earth. Despite this, two cities on the shore of Galilee, along with Capernaum, a city in which He lived, refused repentance. Thus, says Jesus, their judgment would be even greater than that of the twin cities, Tyre and Sidon, as well as for the notoriously evil city of Sodom. Here we see once again that there are degrees of punishment in hell, just as there are degrees of reward in heaven. Every sin is an act of rebellion against a holy God, but some sins carry far more serious consequences than others and thus receive a greater punishment in this life as well as in the next. Tragically, people in the cities in which Jesus revealed His glory are destined to experience that very reality. Though the words of Jesus are specifically directed at them, we ourselves must ponder them soberly for they apply to us as well.
After going over the remaining verses in chapter 11, Hank moves onto chapter 12, where we see the Pharisees attempting to trap Jesus in a perceived indiscretion. As Jesus and His disciples went through a grain field on the Sabbath, the disciples plucked heads of grain to feed their hunger. The Pharisees saw this and seized upon this perceived indiscretion to impugn the righteousness of the Master Teacher. Their claim is that the Sabbath was violated. Jesus, however, points to Israel’s appointed King eating the showbread of the tabernacle, thus demonstrating that even the ceremonial laws were not unconditional in their application and that God cares far more for inward realities than for the external observance of civil and ceremonial laws.