Summary of passage: Jesus began to denounce the cities who witnesses his miracles and still did not believe or repent: Korazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. Jesus praises God for revealing himself to the little children instead of the wise. No one knows the Son except the Father and no one knows the Father except the Son. Jesus invites all to come to him the weary and the burdened and find rest in him. Jesus’ yoke is easy to bear and his burden is light.
6a) He condemns the cities in Galilee (Korazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum) because they did not believe after he performs miracles and Jesus says if he had performed the same feats in Tyre and Sidon they would have repented (verse 21) and it will be more bearable for them on the day of judgment (verse 22). The city of Capernaum will go to Hell and if Jesus had performed the miracles in Sodom, Sodom would still be standing today (verse23) but it will be more bearable for Sodom than Capernaum on the day of judgment (verse 24).
b) The ancient cities did not understand Jesus’ role. They only knew if they sinned, God would judge them and enact punishment for their sins. They had no hope of ever being truly righteous before God.
The people of Korazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum were told a Savior would be sent to save them from their sins and this Savior would be God’s son and he would fulfill the prophecies as to his identity (be born of a virgin, in Bethlehem, heal the blind and deaf, etc).
Personally, I’m not sure even if the people in Jesus’ time understood his role for the disciples themselves were confused at times. I don’t think they got it until after Jesus’ death. There was so much confusion about what the Savior would be and do that it would be hard to know back then.
c) We know the significance of Jesus’ death and what it means: that we are now sinless before God and get to dwell with Him in heaven forever. The people of Jesus’ time did not truly understand this. We can see God’s perfect plan from OT times through to modern times. We have 2000 years after Jesus’ death to understand its significance. We have the advantage of scholars from throughout time to explain it to us.
It seems to me Jesus had high expectations of people in his time. Yet, you would think witnesses all the miracles Jesus performed would be more than adequate. Yet, they were a superstitious people. It’s hard to put ourselves in their shoes when the world has altered so much in 2000 years.
7) Personal Question. My answer: God has chosen us to reveal Himself to out of His grace and pleasure alone and not because we ever did anything deserving of it. We are the recipient of God’s favor: He chose us to reveal Himself and His Son to. For this, we should be ever worshipful and grateful and humble before God.
8a) All who are weary and burdened
b) He will give them rest
c) “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me”
d) Personal Question. My answer: This is one of my favorite Bible verses for often I am weary and feel burdened in this world with so many obligations and responsibilities. But I know in Him there is rest. And if I just learn more about Him my yoke will be easier to bear in this world and my burdens light. They encourage me to press on through it all and to keep going to BSF and church and to keep striving to learn more about Him so that I can receive the promised rest.
With Jesus, your yoke and burdens are light. Without him, they will be heavy. So which is yours?
Conclusions: It’s interesting to see the high expectations Jesus had for his people and how let down and hurt Jesus was when they STILL rejected him. This tells me that Jesus expects a lot from me and I need to work even harder to meet and even exceed those expectations. Also, towards my kids. I expect a lot from them and sometimes I wonder if it’s too much. It’s good to see how Christians are expected to be at a level higher than others. It motivates me to do better and be better. Simply put: Greater light, greater responsibility.
Everything (including God) is a gift from God and our lives will be easier the more we imbibe this truth in our lives. And we do that through learning about Him.
End Notes: We are given clues here in this passage to the End Times. Saying it will be “more tolerable” seems to imply there will be varying degrees of judgment meted out, depending on God’s expectations for believers and non-believers.
We see the love here between the Father and the Son and learn that no one knows each other better. And Jesus extends this invitation to us: to know him better so he can walk by our sides all the days of our lives.
Because Jesus was so frustrated that people “weren’t getting it”, we will start to see him rely more and more on parables instead of miracles as he continues his teachings.
Amazing pictures of the remains of Korazin and Bethsaida as well as historical background information here:
Fun Fact taken from this site: Bethsaida is mentioned in the Gospels more often than any other town except Jerusalem and Capernaum.
Map of Korazin (or Chorazin) and Bethsaida, both very close to the Sea of Galilee:
Map of Tyre and Sidon, both in Phoenicia and very wealthy port cities, as well as Korazin and Bethsaida: