“WILL YOU BE EXALTED TO HEAVEN?”
Jesus spoke in parables, stories that were not necessarily factual because their purpose was to drive home some principle about the spiritual meaning of life, he also uses some forms of speech, the meaning of which may not be immediately apparent. In Luke 10 today we encounter some good examples of this. He did many miracles in Capernaum and other cities. He challenges them, “If the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon they would have repented long ago ..” [v.13]
Capernaum had been the scene of many miracles, but it did not spark a spirit of repentance! They pursued Christ for more mass feeding of loaves and fishes – and the Master lamented, when they found him on the other side of the lake, “you are seeking me … because you ate the fill of the loaves.” [John 6 v.26]
This attitude leads Jesus to say, “… you Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades” [Luke 10 v.15] The city experienced seeing heavenly powers, they marvelled, yet it did not touch them personally to listen and seek to understand his teaching but they really got excited about his miracles.
The ‘reward’ of Capernaum for this failure would be by going “down to Hades” That’s “Hell” in the old A V Bible, the grave, in many modern versions. And Capernaum was buried for about 1800 years - until archaeologists uncovered its ruins; so Jesus words were fulfilled, it was “brought down to Hades,”
In Luke 12 we will read how Jesus makes a significant point, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required.” [v.48] The people of Capernaum failed on this important principle. Can we fail in this way today? God’s word is readily available to all, in all languages, it is an abundant witness to us, but are we taking any real notice of it?
Jesus’ disciples are sent out on a successful preaching and healing mission and when they return Jesus says, “I saw Satan like lightning fall from heaven” [10 v.18]. Again, obviously not to be understood literally! We have seen the symbolic meaning of heaven! We can see that these words means that the enemies of Jesus, those seeking his destruction, were “disarmed” by the demonstrations of heaven’s power and these self-important priests and lawyers lost their position as heaven’s representatives. We will see in Ch. 11 how Jesus ridicules their attempts to deny his heavenly powers [v.15-23]; notice how he ends by saying, “Whoever is not with me is against me..” We can take no neutral position when it comes to our personal relationship with Jesus. It is vital we all remember that!