Then Yeshua began to denounce the towns in which he had done most of his miracles, because the people had not turned from their sins to God.
Matthew 11:20 (CJB)
If you read the preceding chapters, you see how time and time again, Jesus says that faith made people well. The people in these towns believed in His power to heal, His authority over demons, His ability to do amazing things, and then they experienced His miracles because of their belief.
If you read the verses immediately following the one quoted above, you see that the people in these towns — the very people who had such faith as to inspire God to work miracles — are consigned to a hotter hell, as it were, than Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom. (These are wicked cities in the Old Testament, which are excellent reference points for extreme evil.)
This is a hard message. They had faith — and lots of it — but they had no repentance. It seems that this is a recipe for absolutely nothing good, if we are to believe Jesus about their final destination.
According to this passage, one can have great faith in God, and they can have a personal and miraculous encounter with Him that brings wholeness and healing and is an obvious testament to His power and mercy, yet still not be true followers. Yet still not receive eternal salvation. Yet still wake from death to find themselves on fire.
This is not popular or pleasant, so maybe this is why we pretend it’s not in the Bible.
I don’t have anything great to say about this; I feel that the Scripture is powerful and convicting enough. Still, I couldn’t NOT share it. I couldn’t NOT see if it hits you the way it hits me.
I’d love to read your comments either way.