Jeremiah 15:19–21, Mark 2:1–12, Matthew 11:20–24
“One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.” Romans 10:10 (CSB)
“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13 (CSB)
Confession and repentance resulting in salvation is a constant theme in the Scriptures. As the nation of Israel would wander away from God, come back, wander away, and so on, there was a perceivable and constant ebb and flow in the story.
Jesus was not one to shy away from forgiving sins. Take this story of the paralytic. He seems to have deliberately chosen words that struck at the core of how confession, repentance, and salvation all tie together. Scripture does not say that the paralytic confessed and repented. However, by his friends putting him at his feet, the man was forgiven and healed. Even more interestingly, it appears it was the faith of the paralytic’s friends that resulted in healing and forgiveness.
Yet, we come to Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, there seems to be no grace. What happened? If the paralytic man didn’t have to follow “the recipe” why should have Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum? The additional context of Tyre and Sidon gives us an idea. They were cities that were known for their pride and arrogance. Jesus was saying that Chorazin and Bethsaida were more pride-filled and arrogant. Capernaum? Let’s see…Jesus did miracles, a number of them. Yet, Capernaum refused to repent even with the King of the Kingdom of God was right there in their midst! That’s the difference, open versus closed.
1) Can you see the difference in your life between when you have been open and when you have been closed to God?
2) What traits—other than pride and arrogance—indicate someone being closed to God?
3) The people of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum probably viewed themselves a righteous. How can we check that we have not become like them?