Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you 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 to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. Matthew 11:20-22
Harsh words of Jesus. Jesus was speaking to the people who lived in the cities that saw a lot of miracles. Seeing miracles amazes people and leaves them in awe with a new revelation of God and His power. Jesus’ comparison points are people in other cities who, seeing the same mighty works of God, would have repented. It would indicate that seeing miracles usually leads to repentance. That was Jesus’ expectation.
This stern rebuke wasn’t because there wasn’t deep appreciation of miracles. One has to believe that the people that got healed were grateful. Jesus pointed to a failure to repent. This is the Right Way to respond to the mighty works of God: Repentance. With repentance comes forgiveness. Repentance causes changes in behavior, perspective shifts, and a new way of thinking. Being part of a miracle forever changes the way one sees life as they thought they knew it. If there is no change, the hearts harden to God and His offerings. Glory is not given to God. Hardened hearts tend to become hearts of stone. Eventually judgment comes.
Now, when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such power to men.” Matthew 9:8