Friends, today Jesus declares judgment on the towns of Galilee that did not believe in him and repent. He stands at the end of the long line of prophets God sent in order to reconcile his people to himself. Like the prophets before him, Jesus is ignored, mocked, and rejected.
What happens as a result of man’s refusal of God? Not nothing. God’s judgment falls on the unfaithful nation. What is the instrument of God’s justice? One of the heathen nations, the Chaldeans, come and destroy the city of Jerusalem, burn the temple, carry off its most sacred objects, and force the Israelites into exile. And then the Romans follow suit in the first century.
Is this bad luck? Just the typical give and take of geopolitical forces? No! The Bible insists that this should be read as God’s action, more specifically, as God’s judgment and punishment. Mind you, this is not an arbitrary punishment, something cruel and vindictive; rather, it is God allowing the fallen nation to feel the effects of its sin.
So what’s the lesson? Sin has consequences, and we rarely have to wait for the next world to experience them.